Melanie Lynskey Spent Decades as the ‘Fat Friend’: Characters Required a ‘Candy Bar in Every Scene’

14 March 2023

Melanie Lynskey is done being typecast.

The “Yellowjackets” star recalled being cast in roles described as “the fat friend or the jokey kind of fat person” in her career. “There was one thing I read where the person had a candy bar in every scene,” Lynskey told The New York Times.

Stints on TV shows like “Two and a Half Men” and supporting roles in films such as “Sweet Home Alabama” led Lynskey to rethink what she defined as weighty characters. “I very much want to be onscreen representing an interesting person who’s not paying attention to what her tummy looks like,” the “The Last of Us” actress said, before adding, “If there were more people who look like me [on screen], then I wouldn’t have to talk about it as much.”

The “Heavenly Creatures” breakout previously admitted to finding watching herself onscreen a special kind of “torture” due to being “so self-conscious.”

“I’m trying to just say to myself, ‘OK, you’re normalizing this, and hopefully more women will come along who look like you, and people won’t feel like they have to say things like that,’ because there is kind of a backhanded compliment,” Lynskey said earlier this year. “Sometimes, I get tired of hearing about my body, even when it is positive, I just, you know, feel like I need a break from thinking about it and hearing about it and I think all women feel that way.”

Lynskey also clapped back at the backlash to her “Last of Us” casting, sharing on social media, “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(.)”

The Emmy-nominated actress previously told IndieWire that she was inspired to tweak her own body language when transforming into a traumatized Shauna for Showtime’s “Yellowjackets,” with Season 2 debuting March 26.

“I had a director tell me, ‘You look like you’re apologizing with your hands when you’re acting,’ in an audition, and since then I’ve been sort of self-conscious about it,” Lynskey said. “And [Shauna] is not a character who would be apologizing with her hands. So I was trying to have more of a stillness than I usually would and trying to just inhabit some of this fierceness.”

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