Yellowjackets star Melanie Lynskey popped up in The Last of Us episode 4 as new character Kathleen, who has deposed FEDRA and taken over the Kansas City QZ (quarantine zone). Kathleen is a ruthless and feared leader, which has prompted some people (well, idiots, let’s be honest) to question the casting of Lynskey.
When someone rudely posted on Twitter; “her body says life of luxury, not post-apocalyptic warlord. Where is Linda Hamilton when you need her?” New member of The Last of Us cast Melanie Lynskey responded; “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 followed this up with a typically thoughtful thread about why it’s important that someone like her plays this Last of Us character; “the thing that excited me most about doing The Last of Us is that my casting suggested the possibility of a future in which people start listening to the person with the best ideas. 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.”
Lynskey continued; “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.”
“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 shit done. I wanted her to look like she should have a notepad on her at all times.”
“I wanted her to be feminine, and soft-voiced, and all the things that we’ve been told are ‘weak.’ Because honestly, fuck that. I understand that some people are mad that I’m not the typical casting for this role. That’s thrilling to me….the most exciting part of my job is subverting expectations.”
Melanie Lynskey is from New Zealand, and her breakthrough role was in Peter Jackson’s 1994 movie based on a true story – Heavenly Creatures – alongside Kate Winslet. We’re looking forward to seeing more of Lynskey in Yellowjackets season 2.