âNobody knows what’s going to happen,â says Jasmin Savoy Brown, a few minutes after our Zoom together call. For most conversations it might seem a bit early to get so existential, but Brown is talking about Yellow jackets, the Showtime series in which she stars as a 17-year-old soccer champion whose plane full of teammates crashed into the Canadian wilderness in 1996; passengers are left on their own to survive. Brown plays Taissa, a natural leader of the team, who is ultimately rescued from the wilderness and, shown in flashes for up to 25 years later, becomes a successful politician who marries a beautiful woman and raises a beautiful child in a beautiful house. âIt’s a show about women. There are men in the show, but it’s not their world, âcontinues the 27-year-old actress. âIt’s a world of women, seen through a feminine lens in its savagery, backstabbing, self-awareness and vulnerability. It’s ugly, but it’s really beautiful. And I think part of what’s so beautiful is that he’s honest in his ugliness.
“Whatever your theories about the show and all the storylines are, they’re all incorrect,” says Brown, and she’s probably right – the show, billed as a cross between Lost and Lord of the Flies, has spawned endless theories on Reddit, Twitter and everywhere else on the internet where the Yellow jackets Hive has reunited to speculate on the show’s opening scene, which features a restless girl running through the woods to be captured and eaten by her teammates. Eight episodes in the 10-episode season, which has just been renewed for another series, and we still don’t know who ate who. âI’m very proud of my character and the arc she’s got over this season,â said Brown, being careful to keep any spoilers a secret as she happily talks about the show. “A lot of crazy bullshit is falling – it’s very dark, as expected, but Taissa is becoming more of a leader in her own right.”
One aspect of the series that fans and critics love Yellow jackets is the impeccable cast and the way the young counterparts perfectly match the manners, expressions and tics of the older actors who play them, including Tawny Cypress, Christina Ricci, Melanie Lynskey and Juliette Lewis. The adult version of Taissa, played by Cypress, is stoic, sharp, and, at first glance, the most successful of survivors. But beneath the surface, and especially at night, she harbors a deep guilt and shame about her behavior. âTawny and I have never disagreed on anything,â says Brown. “We actually didn’t have to talk too much about character formation because we were on the same page from the start and approached it the same physically and energetically.”
The cast met in late 2019, filmed the pilot directed by Karyn Kusama, interrupted during the pandemic and restarted once production could safely resume. âIt was really like we were shooting two completely different shows,â Brown reveals, with the younger filming for a week at a time in the woods outside Vancouver, and the older filming the following week in a location. more suburban. âIt was rainy and hot and grueling and fun, but really demanding physically and psychologically – and then we would have a week off while they went to shoot their fun thriller,â Brown says with a laugh.
Fortunately, it didn’t take long to get used to the rugged climate of Brown, who grew up in Oregon before moving to Los Angeles to become an actor. She has known since she was little that she wanted to play, but jokes that she has to thank Oprah Winfrey for showing the courage to make a career out of it. âWhen I was a little girl I would see her say that she thought one day she would be rich and prosperous and happy, and I went okay, cool, let me do it,â she says. âI think it speaks to the power of women – black women, and queer black women like me too – to say exactly what they want without shame or false humility. We’re not supposed to say, ‘Yeah, I’m going to be rich. I plan to be very successful. I’d be happy. I want to own three properties. Women, black women, or any minority, we’re just supposed to be grateful to be here. So when I saw a black woman do this from a young age, it gave me permission. I want to do the same for others.
Like Yellow jackets season one ends, Brown will be seen in Scream, another project in which references to 1996 abound. Twenty-five years after the Woodsboro murders terrorized Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), the Ghostface killer is back. Of course, when you’re part of a project that descends from such a Hollywood legacy, you’re sworn to keep it a secret, so there’s not much Brown can divulge about his role in. Scream. What she can say, however, is that even the cast didn’t know who the killer was until a few weeks before their ending. âThere were several scripts with different endings and we all got different versions where the killer was a different person or different people,â she says. âI would say that people will be happy with any choices made. It is relevant and they are not mistaken. It’s a smart franchise and it works for a reason.
Then Brown will do something she’s been reluctant to pursue in the past: release more music. âI love to sing, and it’s the thing I’m most afraid to put out there,â she admits. “I’ve been making music for as long as I’ve been playing, but I just started releasing my music, which is terrifying and so exciting.” She credits the pandemic and a friendly breakup with her partner (the two have since remained friends) forcing her to take the plunge and write an album. âI was stuck with my feelings. There was nowhere to go. So I sat down with my guitar everyday and songs came out of me, âshe says.
This month, she will also be releasing her podcast for Netflix, The gay agenda, in which she and she Yellow jackets Co-star Liv Hewson (who also plays her sweetheart on the show) interviews popular-eyed gay people who are successful and happy. âSo much content is tragic pornography, so I’m very proud,â she says, of her decision to make room for queer stories that can be uplifting and inspiring. It’s a business in line with her original purpose which she manifested as a little girl watching Oprah: âI worked so hard to do my best to make every space I leave better than when I was there. ‘ve found it. “