Melanie Lynskey says it’s ‘thrilling’ that people are mad at her casting in The Last of Us

Melanie Lynskey

The Last of Us star Melanie Lynskey has opened up about how she used her femininity to create a subversively brutal character in the hit show – and why she’s glad people are upset at her casting.

Lynskey, who plays Kathleen, a ruthless leader of a revolutionary movement in episode four of The Last of Us, is revealed to be the person who orders the ambush of Joel and Ellie as they arrive in Kansas City on their journey westward.

In a lengthy Twitter thread, Lynskey described why she loved working on The Last of Us, and the creative freedom given to her by co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, who permitted her to subvert the expectations of viewers who believed that she wasn’t the right casting choice to make her character believable.

“My casting suggested the possibility of a future in which people start listening to the person with the best ideas,” she began.

“Not the coolest or the toughest person. The organiser. The person who knows where everything is. The person who is doing the planning. The person who can multitask. The one who’s decisive.

“Women, and especially women in leadership positions, are scrutinised incessantly. Her voice is too shrill. Her voice is too quiet. She pays too much attention to how she looks. She doesn’t pay enough attention to how she looks. She’s too angry. She’s not angry enough”.

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A character created especially for the TV adaptation of the video game, Kathleen is first seen interrogating a doctor for information about her brother’s death at the hands of FEDRA (the totalitarian government agency responsible for handling quarantine zones in the show’s post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested world). Later, she executes him in cold blood.

Kathleen is yet to have a face-to face run-in with Pedro Pascal‘s Joel and Bella Ramsey‘s Ellie, although it looks as if it won’t be far off.

In her thread, Lynskey went on to explain that she wanted Kathleen to be “feminine” and “soft-voiced”, to show that a character with all the qualities that women are told are “weak” could be a figurehead of a revolution, and further subvert expectations of femininity.

“I was excited at the idea of playing a woman who had, in a desperate and tragic time, jumped into a role she had never planned on having and nobody else had planned on her having, and then she actually got s**t done. Honestly, f**k that.”

“I understand that some people are mad that I’m not the typical casting for this role,” she added.

“That’s thrilling to me. Other than the moments after action is called, when you feel like you’re actually in someone else’s body, the most exciting part of my job is subverting expectations”.

In a separate post, Lynskey responded to criticism from America’s Next Top Model first-season winner Adrianne Curry who cruelly body-shamed her and said she “didn’t fit” in with the apocalyptic world in The Last of Us.

“This is from my cover shoot for InStyle magazine, not a still from HBO’s The Last of Us,” she wrote, before clarifying exactly why comments concerning her appearance were irrelevant to the situation.

“And I’m playing a person who meticulously planned & executed an overthrow of FEDRA. I am supposed to be SMART, ma’am. I don’t need to be muscly. That’s what henchmen are for.”

Lynskey has previously been accused of “pushing” the “homosexual agenda” simply by being cast in The Last of Us, to which she replied: “OMG yes let me push that homosexual agenda just by showing up! An honour!”

It’s not the first time Lynskey has gone viral for showing love and support for the LGBTQ+ community. When her casting was initially announced, someone commented: “The Last of Us very smart putting Melanie Lynskey in it to get me and all the homosexuals to watch it.”

To which she replied “Awwww.”

When another person responded: “Us heterosexuals like you too, Melanie”, she simply said: “That’s less exciting to me, but thank you nonetheless.”

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