‘Yellowjackets’ Star Steven Krueger Delves Into Dire Dilemmas & Season 2 Teasers

Steven Krueger in Yellowjackets

Brendan Meadows/SHOWTIME.

The buzz kept getting stronger for the show as the jaw-dropping first season of Yellowjackets unfolded. The Emmy Award-nominated Showtime series centers on an all-girl high school soccer team and coach (plus his kids) who fight for survival in the wilderness after their plane crashes. Things soon become almost unimaginable for the survivors as savagery takes over, including facing the prospect of eating human flesh. And that’s just the beginning.

The lone adult left in this carnivorous tale (the flashback portion anyway) is their coach Ben Scott, played by Steven Krueger. Known for his roles on The Originals and Roswell, New Mexico the star called the script the best pilot he ever read in his career so far. 

“I remember the neck on my hair standing up,” Krueger told TV Insider. 

Reading new scripts he gets the same feeling for season 2. We caught up with the actor days before returning to set to talk about Scott’s journey. 

Early on Ben endures the traumatic situation of losing his leg. How did you prepare for the role? Take me through the steps talent to ensure it came off as authentic as possible.

Steven Krueger: I did a ton of research. When you are playing a character who has a disability like this, I had to learn a lot about what the actual experience would be like to lose a leg. The physical side and mental and psychological sides. I spent a lot of time in the months leading up to the start of the first season just researching what I could. I talked to people who had gone through that experience. I got very deep on several Reddit threads over the course of several months. There were hours of prosthetic casting. I had never been through that process. A lot of the physical stuff was considered. How are we going to make this work? What positions do I need to stand in? How do we hide the leg so we can take it out later with visual effects? At the end of the day, I hope I did it justice. It’s a learning process, even going into season 2 here. 

Coach Scott attempts to be that moral compass as an adult. By the end of the season, he really loses control. What do you make of that change in dynamic between the players and the coach?

He starts out as the one grownup in the room and the one who should have control and power and authority over this group because he is the adult. It’s just me with a bunch of teenagers. I think you see the desegregation of that storyline go from being on top of the chain to literally the bare bottom over the course of 10 episodes. I found that fascinating. That is one of the undercurrents of the show. The teens have a mind of their own now, and there is not a whole lot I can do. It goes from being worried about everyone else’s life to worrying about my own. 

Misty (Sammi Hanratty) is hot for teacher. Do you think Ben made the right move playing along with her fantasy?

There are so many mental gymnastics that went into this. On one hand, it’s the teacher-student relationship. That would be inappropriate on a number of different levels. On another, Ben is hiding his sexuality. You go back to the time period this is taking place here, this is the mid-1990s in and around New York City. We’re coming off the AIDS epidemic. As the teacher of high school students during that time, you certainly weren’t allowed to be openly gay. It was a major life decision to keep it hidden and lie to fend her off or tell the truth. Then you wonder what her reaction is going to be to all of that. In various episodes through different scenes, we really got to see a lot of those angles and see Ben Scott thinking through all the possibilities of what could possibly happen. Then there is the hilarious part where it all comes out in one fell swoop due to a drug-induced rant. 

Fans loved you on The Originals playing a gay vampire on Josh. How do you feel Yellowjackets handled Ben coming out initially to Natalie (Sophie Thatcher)?

Originally, in the pilot, it was revealed right away that he was gay. There was a reference to it toward the end. The audience was going to know as soon as the plane crashed, and he was hiding it from the rest of the team. The way the pilot went, they decided it would be revealed later in the season. Personally, I knew as the actor from the jump. I’m glad that was the case because I think there were opportunities to play with that. It’s fun to see the audience when the reveal happens go back and say, “There was a hint. That makes sense.” It’s fun to sprinkle those things in before the actual reveal happens. 

Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

 Do you think his decision came with the idea they weren’t going to be saved?

In the first season I think we still had to believe in those first three, four, five months out there that somewhere deep down this is going to work out, and we’re going to be rescued. That we are going to make it back to society and live out our days. I also think that as an actor it is a stronger choice than just giving up hope and giving up everything. It created this internal struggle of, “Hey, this is a really dire situation, and I’m really tired of holding on to this. I have to focus on staying sane and keeping myself alive. I don’t want to hide this anymore.” That versus, “Oh crap!  In a week, we get rescued, and my life as I know it is over.” That was a real juxtaposition I got to play with in that first season. 

Was there wonder if you were going to survive that first season?

Our creators and writers are great about sharing overall story arcs. They were willing to share with me that I was going to survive the first season. As we were shooting it, I was always wondering and looking for little clues about where we go from here. it was fun knowing I survive and watching the audience respond with people saying, “The coach is a goner They’re going to eat them. It’s over.” The one who is most likely to die is the most fun to play. 

What can you say about season 2 from what you’ve read so far?

We’ve got the first two scripts and read through them with the cast. It’s pretty incredible. I really think people are in for a treat. There is always that worry coming off the success of a first season that the second season would be a letdown. From what I read of those first two episodes, that’s not going to be the case. I think we really found our groove. 

Winter is coming. What can you tease about where we left off?

This is a whole new ball game. We are going into the wintertime when the season ends with that first snowfall. This season will cover the winter months. It’s going to get dire out there with little food and the challenge of staying warm and alive. A good general overall birdseye view of the second season is it feels like producers loved we were the crazy show on TV and want to take that and double down. If you thought season 1 was crazy, just buckle your seatbelts for season 2. It doesn’t let up. 

Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

There are also a number of new cast members including Elijah Wood.

He is an incredible talent and so well-known. To get people like that who want to work with you. it’s the highest compliment to be paid to us as creators. I know that he and Christina Ricci are going to get work together. When we did those first two table reads,  could not take my eyes off the two of them interacting with each other. It’s going to be brilliant. 

Have you mentally prepared that at some point this season, it may be the end for Ben?

I’m always holding out hope. What you have come to expect from the show is expect the unexpected. I think everyone expects him to bite the dust. That might happen. I have no idea, but I definitely know there is a possibility we see Ben Scott down the line. From an acting perspective, it’s fun to play with the unknown and drop hints in my performance to keep the audience guessing. 

Yellowjackets Season 2, 2023, Showtime


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