Melanie Lynskey Has 'Very Little' in Common with Her 'Yellowjackets' Role as a Mom: 'Joy of My Life'

·3-min read

Lynskey, who has a daughter with husband Jason Ritter, tells PEOPLE there's not a lot of overlap between her real life as a mom and her character's journey

Steve Granitz/FilmMagic Melanie Lynskey
Steve Granitz/FilmMagic Melanie Lynskey

Melanie Lynskey can't relate much to the character she plays on Yellowjackets — particularly in one area.

"We have opposite parenting styles," the New Zealand native, 45, told PEOPLE on the red carpet of the Showtime series' season 2 premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles Wednesday night.

She added of the differences between herself and her character, Shauna, "I feel so fortunate to have my daughter, and I love her. It's like the joy of my life. Every day, I'm like, 'Thank you, thank you, thank you for this child.' I want to spend every minute with her."

But Lynskey's portrayal of the troubled Shauna — who has a 16-year-old daughter and possibly another child — doesn't jibe with her real-life role as the mother of a daughter, whom she shares with husband Jason Ritter.

"It's different for Shauna," the star said. "She didn't want to have a kid. She's kind of doing her best. But I don't know, I think there's not a lot [of overlap]. There's not a Venn diagram where the things kind of connect."

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Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock Melanie Lynskey
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock Melanie Lynskey

Related: Jason Ritter to Guest Star on Yellowjackets Season 2 Alongside Wife Melanie Lynskey

Shauna's complicated emotions and epic adventures in adulting are all set against the backdrop of the story, which is part-survival narrative, part-psychological horror show and part-coming-of-age drama, as it chronicles the lives of four women bonded by a 1996 plane crash that stranded their high-school soccer team in the brutal Canadian wilderness for 19 months.

The show explores how the teens survived in the wild, but the storyline shifts between 1996 and 2021 as their adult counterparts are plagued by an anonymous stalker who blackmails them with the mysterious truth of what went down in the woods.

Yellowjackets received an immediate renewal after it garnered critical acclaim early in its first season in November 2021. Since then, the show has received numerous accolades, including seven Emmy Award nominations.

Season 2 picks up where the action left off, with Lynskey, Tawny Cypress, Juliette Lewis and Christina Ricci as the present-day, adult versions of the core four survivors. Sophie Nélisse, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Sophie Thatcher and Sammi Hanratty play their teenage counterparts, respectively.

Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME Melanie Lynskey on <em>Yellowjackets</em>
Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME Melanie Lynskey on Yellowjackets

Related: Everything to Know About Yellowjackets Season 2

Among the new cast members this season are Elijah Wood, Lauren Ambrose and one very special guest star: Lynskey's Parenthood-alum husband Ritter, 43.

His guest appearance will mark the second time the couple has acted together on television, following their roles on the Jessica Biel-fronted Hulu true-crime drama Candy, which also starred Biel's real-life husband Justin Timberlake.

Ricci, 43, and Wood, 42, also have an onscreen reunion on Yellowjackets, having first starred together over 25 years ago, in Ang Lee's 1997 drama The Ice Storm.

"I was super excited to work with Elijah before we started working together because we had been in a movie together when we were 15. And he was amazing to work with," Ricci told PEOPLE Wednesday at the premiere.

She added, "We've run into each other over the years, but we haven't necessarily stayed in touch. So it was fun to see him and then kind of get to know him and work with him more."

Yellowjackets season 2 premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.

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