The Last of Us' Script Was So Good It Rewrote Pedro Pascal's Two-Year Plan
This weeks Your Nerd Side Show:
Speaking to Deadline with his co-star Bella Ramsey, Pascal reflected on the video game adaptation's success and how he initially joined the show as protagonist Joel Miller. Despite being unfamiliar with The Last of Us game, he underwent a traditional "process of auditioning" for the role, calling it, "Not a terribly arduous one, but one that had to be related to having read the scripts. I realized in reading episodes 1 and 2, that once Joel met Ellie, it was a part that you undeniably had to chase and play."
Pascal described himself as, "blown away by the world" of The Last of Us, and was equally excited to work with both Ramsey and Chernobyl showrunner Craig Mazin. "It intercepted me in a very specific way," he said, admitting, "I had a plan for the next couple of years, and within a 24-hour period, this project intercepted everything because of how special I thought it was. And then I found out that it was this big f*king popular game that people lose their minds over."
Joel and Ellie's Origins in The Last of Us Game
Prior to Pascal and Ramsey's casting, Joel and Ellie's game counterparts were exclusively played by Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, both of whom had cameos in The Last of Us' final two episodes. An adaptation of the game -- which celebrated its tenth anniversary on June 14 -- spent years in development hell before Mazin and Neil Druckmann's HBO series was greenlit, with prior attempts including a Sam Raimi film and an animated motion capture movie.
Likewise, HBO Programming Executive Vice President Francesca Orsi remembered Mazin selling her on The Last of Us by emphasizing the parental love between Joel and Ellie, rather than gameplay elements or the zombie-like Infected and Clickers. Upon release the show received widespread acclaim from critics, who praised Pascal and Ramsey's performances, The Last of Us' production value, and its overall faithfulness to the gaming source material.
As of now, The Last of Us Season 2 might not arrive until 2025, due in part to Hollywood's ongoing WGA strike. Reportedly, instead of using scripts, auditions for Season 2 involve actors reading scenes from the game's controversial sequel The Last of Us Part II, which the new season will likely adapt. Ramsey also alluded to Season 2 utilizing Part II's themes, calling it, "a story about revenge, and a continuation from the first season about the dangers of unconditional love."
The Last of Us Season 1 is available to stream on Max.