Expect to see a lot more of Melanie Lynskey. A spectacular actress with a reputation for being one of the kindest people in Hollywood, Lynskey has stayed booked and busy for much of her career. Recently, something has shifted positively for the New Zealand-born actress. With her leading role in Showtime’s highly-reviewed Yellowjackets, her portrayal of Betty Gore opposite Jessica Biel as Candy Montgomery in Candy, and her latest appearance on The Last of Us, Lynskey is super hot right now.
She’s often been cast as the supporting character throughout her career, even if she stole the show a lot of the time. Lynskey’s impressive resume includes some pop-culture staples like her breakout role in Heavenly Creatures (1994), Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998), But I’m A Cheerleader (1999), Coyote Ugly (2000), and Sweet Home Alabama (2002). Now the actress is finally beginning to get casted as leading characters, and the entire film and TV industry will be better for it. Her lead role in Yellowjackets has earned her particularly high praise, and the show’s second season, premiering March 24th, is eagerly anticipated.
But just because she’s successful doesn’t mean the actress never deals with haters. She is exceptionally good at clapping back on social media, though, and has been making headlines for the way she dealt with some criticisms of her casting and character choices in HBO’s The Last of Us. Lynskey’s role is the character of Kathleen, a revolutionary leader of a movement that overthrew FEDRA, the post-apocalyptic military authority that rules futuristic America. Kathleen is brilliant, tough, and ruthless, but some felt that Lynskey was too soft-spoken for the role.
Model Adrianne Curry posted a now-deleted tweet of a screenshot of Lynskey from a magazine shoot saying, “her body says life of luxury…not post apocalyptic warlord. Where is Linda Hamilton when you need her?” The comment was uncalled for, unfounded, and honestly, pretty silly. What does a post-apocalyptic warlord look like? Your guess is as good as mine, and I hope neither of us ever find out.
Lynskey appropriately reacted by replying, “...I’m playing a person who meticulously planned and 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.”
Firstly- this is a photo from my cover shoot for InStyle magazine, not a still from HBO’s The Last Of Us. 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 pic.twitter.com/YwkmkwUdOm— Melanie Lynskey (@melanielynskey) February 8, 2023ADVERTISEMENT
The actress expanded even more in a Twitter thread shortly after, calling out the ridiculous expectations for women in leadership positions, both real and fictional. She said she viewed this role as an opportunity to act out “...a future in which people start listening to the person with the best ideas…” And continued by tweeting, “I wanted her [Kathleen] 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.” Fuck that, indeed.
I understand that some people are mad that I’m not the typical casting for this role. 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— Melanie Lynskey (@melanielynskey) February 8, 2023
If that epic Twitter thread doesn’t make you fall in love with her, then I don’t know what will. Melanie Lynskey is a gem if there ever was one–rarely does so much grace, talent, sparkle, and charming humility coexist in just one person. With a well-established career, perfectly honed dramatic and comedic chops, and a flurry of current successful projects, Lynskey is well on her way to being one of the biggest names in Hollywood.
Top photo is a screengrab of Melanie Lynskey in HBO Max's The Last of Us "Inside the Episode" on YouTube
Zoë is a writer and journalist from Minnesota currently based in Chicago. In her free time she likes to watch TV but she usually lies and says her favorite hobby is reading. She is working towards a career that combines her passion for comedy and journalism to create a more informed and equitable world.