Growing up Mormon in Chicago, Sophie Thatcher could easily have taken a different path in life. “I would make kids in my class audition for my shows, and I was expecting them to be the next big Broadway hit,” says Thatcher of her early productions, shows like 103 Dalmatians and an unnamed zombie series she wrote with her twin sister. “In fourth grade, instead of taking spelling quizzes, I would just show the teachers my scripts and short stories.”
In addition to writing, there was something about performing that clicked for Thatcher. At the age of 10, she played Mary in a local production of The Secret Garden. “I felt like I was possessed,” she says. “Performing gave me a high that I’d never had before. And my mom was like, ‘O.K., she takes this seriously, and she’s probably going to be doing this the rest of her life.’ So she was O.K. with me leaving the church.”
At 18, Thatcher moved to New York, creating self-tape after self-tape and going on as many auditions as she could manage. It was while playing a sullen and misunderstood teenager in When the Streetlights Go On, a limited series for the now defunct short-form streaming platform Quibi, that Thatcher heard about a new pilot.
At first she considered passing it up. “It’s kind of hard to do self-tapes when you’re shooting a show,” she says, “because you’re kind of stuck in this one character. And sometimes I feel like it’s distracting when I try to go into other characters.” But then she looked at the script and the character description and thought to herself, “O.K., I can play this role in a second.”
The character was Natalie, one of the central parts in the hit Showtime series Yellowjackets. The show, which tells the story of a New Jersey girls’ soccer team whose plane crashes into the Canadian wilderness en route to a tournament, hits many different notes. Following the players’ lives before the crash, the Lord of the Flies–esque anarchy of the disaster, and the survivors’ fates years later, it ends up being about something far richer than the blood, death, and carnage of the accident. (It’s not much of a spoiler to say that Natalie lives; the show is already in production for a second season.)
Next up: Thatcher plays a rebel of a different kind, making her debut on a vintage motorcycle as a Joan Jett look-alike in The Book of Boba Fett, another lavish Star Wars spin-off created by Jon Favreau and currently streaming on Disney+.
It’s a role that fits right in with her overall approach to acting. “I want to be fully in someone else’s shoes,” she says. “I want to experience things that I’ve never experienced and to be surprised by my characters all the time.”
The Book of Boba Fett is available on Disney+
Bridget Arsenault is the London Editor for AIR MAIL