After HBO's The Last Of Us Revealed Surprise Role For Yellowjackets' Melanie Lynskey, The Co-Creator Shared High Praise

Adult Sophie in Yellowjackets
(Image credit: Showtime)

Even though audiences have only seen one extended teaser trailer so far, along with a couple of images, I know I’m not alone in thinking HBO’s The Last of Us is already shaping up to potentially be the most impressive video game adaptation of all time. Those chances only got better after the new footage revealed a surprising new face in Yellowjackets and Castle Rock vet Melanie Lynskey, who will indeed recur among the upcoming horror drama’s already stocked cast list. And soon after the actress shared the trailer online, the show and video game’s co-creator Neil Druckmann chimed in with some kind and hype-worthy thoughts about Lynskey’s involvement.

 For anyone who may have missed the promo or the subsequent factoids about Lynskey’s new role, she pops up about a minute into HBO’s teaser looking fit to get post-medieval on someone’s face for fucking with her day. As noted by TVLine, the Two and a Half Men vet will portray the character Kathleen, who’s described as being the “ruthless leader of a revolutionary movement” situated in Kansas City. That city serves as the live-action counterpart for the video game’s Pittsburgh setting, which indicates the actress will be invested in some action-packed moments soon after Kathleen is introduced. 

Kathleen in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

Without really delving into any character details herself, Melanie Lynskey shared the HBO footage on Twitter with a “Surprise!” caption, and responded to a variety of positive and supportive comments. For example, she shared that her fandom of The Last of Us co-creator Craig Mazin is what led her to this particular role, which sparked a humbled GIF response from the Chernobyl mastermind. (Little Rascals for the win, all day, all night.) It wasn’t Mazin, but rather his creative collaborator Neil Druckmann, who commented with some high praise for the actress’ work as Kathleen, saying:

OMG! You crushed your episodes! Can't wait for people to see your character!🤐

Neil Druckmann

Now, Neil Druckmann may not have a ton of behind-the-scenes experience in the TV and film industry, which could arguably water down his comments should one choose to see it that way. However, as the creative director and writer for both TLoU and its award-winning sequel released in 2020, not to mention all the work he did for the Uncharted franchise, Druckmann has helped guide some of the best video game voice acting out there, and clearly knows how to deliver scenes that put the talent to work. So even if Melanie Lynskey didn’t already deliver spotless performances in everything she appears in, the Last of Us’ co-developer’s words would have sealed the deal. (Speaking of voice acting superstars, Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson secured minor roles in the TV show that fans should definitely keep an eye out for.)

Lynskey shared a gracious response to Druckman’s acclaim, saying she was honored to take part in The Last of Us. She also reflected the loving words shared by Better Call Saul standout Rhea Seehorn, who commented with:


Rhea Seehorn

Another TV fave who chimed in, and with all the expected self-deprecation, was The Office and The Mindy Show’s Mindy Kaling.  

Looks so awesome. Also I would be dead in two seconds in this dystopia.

Mindy Kaling

Melanie Lynskey responded with “One second for me,” which hopefully isn’t anywhere close to indicative of how long her character survives, or else that teaser footage might be all we’d see of her. And Druckmann’s use of “episodes” would also be called into question. Hopefully no one will ever be loony enough to cast a pro like Lynskey for something so fleeting.

Check out the Yellowjackets star and all the other big moments in The Last of Us' promo below.

The Last of Us doesn’t yet have a release date locked down, but it’s expected to be available on HBO in 2023, when it’ll also be streaming for those with HBO Max subscriptions. Head to our 2022 TV schedule to see what shows will be populating primetime before Joel and Ellie come around.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.