Melanie Lynskey has perfect response after being told her body didn't fit her 'The Last Of Us' role
"I don’t need to be muscly. That’s what henchmen are for."
In HBO’s “The Last of Us,” actress Melanie Lynskey plays Kathleen—a tough, formidable villain and ruthless leader of a rebel alliance, not to mention apocalypse survivor.
Do these attributes require any particular sort of body type? Common sense screams no. And yet, outdated views dictate that the answer must be yes.
Case in point: former "America's Top Model'' winner Adrianne Curry recently criticized the legitimacy of Lynskey for the role solely because of her naturally soft body frame, implying that only someone toned and athletic could pull it off.
Referencing a photo of Lynskey in a dress for InStyle Magazine, Curry tweeted, "her body says life of luxury...not post apocolyptic [sic] warlord. where is linda hamilton when you need her?"
Lynskey, who is no stranger to standing up to body critics, had some choice words to say in response.
"Firstly- this is a photo from my cover shoot for InStyle magazine, not a still from HBO’s The Last Of Us," Lynskey wrote. "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."
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, 2023
It’s a plague that’s been on the strong female lead since breaking away from the role of victim or the wife—this notion that she has to possess qualities we typically find exemplary in men, be it with a hardened gym body, untouchable toughness, or a solid, singular focus. And this bias in fiction spills over into the real world. As Lynksey noted in a follow-up post, “Women, and especially women in leadership positions, are scrutinized 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.'"
But Lynskey wants to dismantle all that. The actress wrote that she felt it was important to portray Kathleen as “feminine, and soft-voiced, and all the things that we’ve been told are ‘weak,’” adding that what made her casting “exciting” was that it imagined “a future in which people start listening to the person with the best ideas. Not the coolest or the toughest person…The person who is doing the planning…The one who’s decisive.”
Other than getting to work with creative geniuses who I respect and admire (Neil & Craig) the thing that excited me most about doing #TheLastOfUs is that my casting suggested the possibility of a future in which people start listening to the person with the best ideas— Melanie Lynskey (@melanielynskey) February 8, 2023
From being constantly reminded since the age of 17 to be “thin, confident and pretty” to having a crew member suggest a personal trainer for her acclaimed role on “Yellowjackets,” Lynskey has constantly had to address unsolicited comments about her shape. And while that is exhausting to think about, she feels that, other than the acting itself, “the most exciting part of my job is subverting expectations.”
Goes to show that Lynskey knows exactly how to be tough, whether fending off zombies or out-of-touch comments on social media.
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