‘Yellowjackets’ Star Samantha Hanratty On Misty’s ‘Obsession’ With Ben, The Antler Queen & More

Don't mess with Misty. HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Samantha Hanratty about Misty's decision to destroy the black box, what's going on with Ben, that flash-forward, and the Antler Queen's identity.

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Image Credit: Showtime

Yellowjackets is one of the best new shows of 2021. The show features an incredible cast, especially Samantha Hanratty, who plays teen Misty, the soccer team’s equipment manager everyone has ignored. Misty has made memorable entrances no matter which timeline she’s in. From that chilling Misty moment in the flash-forward to Misty chopping off part of Coach Ben’s leg after the plane crash, Misty is making her presence known in a big way.

Samantha spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife and answered all your burning questions about Misty. She breaks down Misty’s decision to destroy the black box and the current (and potentially dangerous) situation with Ben. Samantha also admitted that she knows who the Antler Queen is and hinted that “things will be answered” by the end of the season. Read our Q&A below:

Samantha Hanratty
Samantha Hanratty as young Misty in the pilot episode. (Showtime)

One of the most shocking moments so far is when Misty destroys the black box. No one knows what she did at the moment, but will that come back into play?
Samantha Hanratty: That’s a really great question, and it’s definitely changed over time. I was told something originally that hasn’t happened yet, so we’re just going to have to wait and see what happens with whether or not that’s going to bite her in the butt or not. But it definitely was a move that she made purely because it’s the first time that she’s ever mattered, and she’s so caught up in that mindset of wanting so badly to just keep this dream world going. She’s not even thinking about the repercussions of what that might look like.

She probably thought this would prolong things a little longer, like a week. But definitely not 19 months. 
Samantha Hanratty: I don’t think she thinks of an endgame. It’s all about just where she’s at in that moment, and I think that’s what makes Misty so dangerous. She doesn’t always think long-term. She’s very smart, but she really is only in the moment and that can be a bit scary.

One scene I keep coming back to is the flash-forward in the pilot. It’s in the thick of winter and there’s a group of people covered in fur. The only person’s face we see is Misty’s. I feel like there has to be a reason we’ve only seen her face. What’s the significance of that moment? 
Samantha Hanratty: I think in the pilot we don’t really get to see much of Misty. We just see her as this very extra, excited person cheering on the team and the girls and taking her job as the equipment manager very seriously. And then we only see a very, very small flash of what might be her at the party. It might be her, it might not be her. It’s safe to say that she probably wasn’t invited to that party. She’s not really in the pilot very much. We don’t really get to see much of who she is except for this one side, which is a very happy, excited person. And then we have that reveal at the end that she’s not quite what you think she is, and she has this other side of her and kind of giving you a glimpse at what team she’s going to be on eventually. She’s going to be on this side of possibly bad.

And there’s that smile from you. Was that smile scripted? I find that moment so fascinating. 
Samantha Hanratty: I know. We filmed it a couple of different ways. One with a smile, one without a smile, one with a big smile, you know? I think if anything, in my head as playing Misty, all I kept thinking as I was looking at the cameras was ‘I know something you don’t know.’ That was a moment of letting the audience know you’re in for a wild ride, and Misty’s going to enjoy it.

Samantha Hanratty
Samantha Hanratty and Steven Krueger as Misty and Ben. (Showtime)

The Ben and Misty dynamic is very interesting. He’s still angry with her for chopping off his leg. But honestly, it needed to be done. I don’t blame Misty for doing that. 
Samantha Hanratty: I think it was the fight or flight mode, and she decided to save his life.

In the present day, we see that Misty yearns to be wanted. When it comes to the Ben and Misty situation, where is it going to go? We see in the fourth episode that she trips him on purpose. It’s like she’s desperate to be wanted by him in any way.
Samantha Hanratty: We were talking about it when we were originally going over it, and I think there’s a moment when Ben is starting to use the crutches so he’s not needing Misty as much, and then they bring the deer out. Instead of giving Misty the knife, he gives it to Shauna. I don’t even know if we really see it in the episode, but for me as the character, that’s a moment of betrayal. It’s like, I’ve been caring for you and healing you and taking care of you, and you’re picking somebody over me? That’s a big no-no. She gets that moment to trip him to be like, you need me. But obviously, she tries to do it in her most subtle way, so he doesn’t know that it was her, but I think a part of her also wants him to know that was her and know that she has that power.

You can see all over Misty’s face that she has feelings for Ben, and they’re definitely unrequited. 
Samantha Hanratty: I think the thing that makes Misty so special, not necessarily in the best of ways, is that I think she replaces love with obsession. She truly thinks that what she’s doing is a loving act, but in reality, it’s all based around obsession.

I’m a little scared for Ben and what Misty might do if she becomes more obsessed with him. There are a lot of questions around who did and didn’t survive besides the people we already know. In terms of Ben, we have yet to see him in the present day. Will we find out what happens to him?
Samantha Hanratty: You’re just going to have to wait and see.

We talked a little bit about the black box already. Was it tough for you to put yourself in Misty’s mindset when she’s destroying that hope for their escape? She ripped the hope away not only from herself but from her teammates. 
Samantha Hanratty: It’s interesting. I tend to play the character that people say is crazy or bad. I sometimes play the bad guy more than not. I think one of the reasons that I do is because I really just don’t judge the characters I play. I allow myself to really give them as much empathy and compassion as I can so that when I’m playing them, I can enjoy them and like them. In playing Misty, I have a soft spot in my heart for her. I don’t agree with a lot of what she does. I think she definitely needs therapy and a lot of TLC, but I think that in that scene, at that moment, all I was thinking about was the first thing that you guys saw when she was 13. All I was thinking about is how many times she had been bullied and hurt. That box was every mean thing that’s ever been said to her. When I was hitting the box and doing all that, I totally got scratched up. We’re out in the real elements there, so I definitely was getting scratched up during the scene and got some bruises from it. I was fully going for it because I really was almost in protector mode as Samantha over Misty. It was this feeling of no one’s going to hurt you anymore type of thing. I think that’s where her mindset was. No one’s going to hurt me anymore. This is where I matter. This is what I’ve waited for my whole life. That’s why I think after I ripped up the wires, there’s so much going on. There’s a look of happiness on my face, but also what the hell did I just do? And also I’m exhausted. There’s so much going on in just that one little beat at the very end. But I don’t think she’s wrapped up too much in the repercussions of things quite yet.

We’re starting to see alliances form in the woods, and the tension is building. Misty has always clearly been an outsider. Will she find any allies?
Samantha Hanratty: That’s a really good question. I think she’s constantly searching for it, but I also think she’s letting her obsession with Ben kind of get in the way of that. I think Ben is her number one focus now that they’re out there. I think originally it was the whole team, but it’s kind of slowly but surely all become about Ben. I think she’ll try to find her way to fit into anything that she can, but for now, the main focus is Ben.

Samantha Hanratty
Samantha Hanratty at the ‘Yellowjacket’s premiere. (Jim Ruymen/UPI/Shutterstock)

You and Christina Ricci have the biggest transformation when it comes to playing Misty. Misty has the glasses and the hair. How did it feel when you stepped into Misty’s shoes?
Samantha Hanratty: It was exciting because I’ve never transformed for a role like this. So putting the wig on, and I also have contacts that I wear in the show, which I’ve never worn contact prior to this. I’ve got brown contacts in. I have the glasses and the wardrobe and, I’m not going to lie, I think both Christina and I recently discovered that we had kind of a similar feel to it, almost feeling like a bigger target walking around. People do treat you a little bit differently depending on what you look like, and I kind of realized that after a while that when I was in hair and makeup and wardrobe, I got treated differently than when I was just myself on set. And not necessarily bad or great or whatever, it was just different. Whenever I was in Misty shoes, I felt different. I felt more self-conscious. I just felt physically more insecure. I think it helped me play her a lot more having that physicality.

There are so many mysteries involved with this show. One of the biggest questions fans have is, who is the girl in the beginning who falls into the deadly trap? If you go on Reddit, there are hundreds of theories about who that person could be. Do you know who that is? 
Samantha Hanratty: No, I have no idea. I mean, I have my suspicions. Personally, I feel like I’m a detective too watching it because I’m like, it can’t be this person. Okay, it can’t be that. I’m trying to narrow it down, but I myself have no idea.

So the writers haven’t told the cast?
Samantha Hanratty: No. I don’t even know who the person is with the pink Converse that walks up. I don’t know who that is. We all have our theories on who that is too, and we have a group chat in our cast where we try to come up with theories ourselves of what’s going on and who we think is who. But every time we think it’s something or somebody, they just hit us with a different thing. It’s so interesting being on a show like this because I feel like there are so many questions. Every time that I’m like, well, I found out through this person that this is what’s going on, so is it? It feels like a game of Clue. They really don’t give us very much information. I tried very hard to get information out. I think I’m like Misty in that way. I’m a citizen detective. I feel like I’m pretty good at trying to figure things out, but there have been so many shocks even in this first season that I just did not see coming. One thing that I did know right away is I know who the Antler person is.

That person has been dubbed the Antler Queen.
Samantha Hanratty: Okay, so I know who the Antler Queen is. I knew that from the very pilot, but that’s all I know.

I guess you know who else is there with you?
Samantha Hanratty: Yes, but actually no, because when I filmed the pilot, it wasn’t any of our cast. They didn’t have anybody else go to Mammoth with me. They just had a bunch of stunt coordinators as the other characters. So we don’t even know who which one of us is. I know who the Antler Queen is because I found that information out.

Will we find out by the end of the season who the Antler Queen is? 
Samantha Hanratty: Things will be answered, and we will be happy about the answers.