Writing on Twitter, actress Melanie Lynskey defended her casting on HBO's hit series The Last of Us and explained why her role of Kathleen—an original character created just for the show—is so pivotal.
Kathleen is the leader of a group of survivors who have overtaken the military group FEDRA, or Federal Disaster Response Agency, in Kansas City, Missouri. She serves as an antagonist to Joel and Ellie, played by Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey respectively.
Shortly after former America's Next Top Model contestant Adrienne Curry suggested Lynskey's body type does not fit the character, Lynskey praised series co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann for creating a character who might not be the "coolest or the toughest person" but has nonetheless risen to a leadership position because of other qualities.
Lynskey said her casting "suggested the possibility of a future in which people start listening to the person with the best ideas," noting that these are the sort of people who know "where everything is," "are doing the planning," "can multitask," and are "decisive."
Lynskey noted that women, particularly those who lead, "are scrutinized incessantly," adding:
"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."
Kathleen exhibits all the traits women are derided for having or expressing, Lynskey continued, acknowledging she understands "some people are mad that [she's] not the typical casting for this role."
"That's thrilling to me. Other than the moment after the 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."
Lynskey once again thanked the show's co-creators "for creating a truly new character" she has "never seen before" and for "trusting" her to bring Kathleen to life.
She called The Last of Us "THE MOST AMAZING SHOW" before concluding with the following message:
"And I'm also grateful because the love and support I receive from you all is so overwhelming and powerful—I feel like we are a community and I feel very seen and loved."
"Ok rant over and thank you all so very much."
Many thanked Lynskey for speaking out and praised the strength of her performance.
Lynskey rose to prominence after starring as teenage murderer Pauline Parker in Peter Jackson's 1994 arthouse drama Heavenly Creatures, a role which allowed her to seek roles outside her native New Zealand.
She has since become one of Hollywood's leading character actresses, appearing in diverse roles in such highly acclaimed films as Up in the Air, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore, and Sadie.
Lynskey welcomed a new generation of fans with starring roles on several hit televison series, most notably Two and a Half Men, Castle Rock and Yellowjackets, which recently scored her a Primetime Emmy nomination for Best Actress in a Drama Series.