For years, Sony PlayStation gamers have been riding an emotional roller-coaster – as the studio attempted to jumpstart a big screen adaptation of the Uncharted action-adventure game series. Many fans had hoped that Castle (and Firefly) star Nathan Fillion would be in the lead role of Nathan Drake, and the actor himself had expressed interest in the part, until it was announced that David O. Russell and Mark Wahlberg were teaming for the project. The pair would later leave the film, after fans raged over Russell’s script (which featured a “family dynamic”) and Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses) was brought onto the movie; yet, with a 2016 release date scheduled, Sony has offered no hint regarding who they’re eyeing to star.
Conversely, the studio’s other major game adaptation, The Last of Us, has a potential leading lady but no director or official release date. Still, following the announcement that producer Sam Raimi and writer Neil Druckmann had met with Game of Thrones starlet Maisie Williams for the part of Ellie, it remained unclear whether or not the fan-favorite actress was actually attached. Now, in a new interview, Arya Stark is providing an update on the film – and weighing-in on whether she’s even interested in joining the project.
To promote her new film The Falling, Williams spoke with Flicks And The City and made it clear that she’s excited about the prospect of portraying Ellie in The Last of Us – but tempers expectations, reiterating that the film is still in extremely early stages of development.
Watch the full interview with Williams (The Last of Us talk starts at 9:50) below – or read her quote following the video:
“I had a lunch a little while ago and we spoke about the possibility of me playing Ellie and that’s really exciting and I would absolutely love to. It kind of all came about on Twitter a long time ago. The power of Twitter still never ceases to amaze me. I went to a lunch and we spoke a little bit about it, and then they announced at Comic-Con that we had spoken about it, and since then in like every interview people have been asking me about it. Honestly I would love to and I think they would love me to play Ellie also, and that’s where it is at the moment. There’s no script, no director, it’s still very early days for the whole project, but if it all goes ahead soon enough I think, yeah, I would love to.”
Unsurprisingly, reaction to the possibility of Williams as Ellie was met with the same mixed reactions we see after most adaptation casting announcements. Plenty of fans praised the actress for her work on Game of Thrones but, regardless, maintained that Williams isn’t a fit for how Ellie was depicted in the source game – arguing that she doesn’t look or (based on prior roles) act the part. However, others were encouraged that Sony was targeting a capable performer rather than simply finding a young actress that matches Ellie’s digital model in appearance.
Nevertheless, as Williams herself points out, “if all goes ahead soon enough,” the clock is ticking if Sony wants her in the role. As mentioned, game fans have already seen Fillion age-out of Uncharted and it would be a shame if The Last of Us became mired in development hell – and the studio’s first pick for Ellie became too mature to portray the character accurately. After all, casting Williams (along with other young co-stars) resulted in some serious production hurdles for HBO with Game of Thrones – since the actors are growing-up faster than their novel counterparts. The trouble with maturing young talent, combined with George R. R. Martin’s slow novel output, has even forced the network to consider finishing the author’s Game of Thrones story on the TV screen before all of the source material pages have been published.
If Sony can get The Last of Us in front of cameras “soon enough,” Williams might surprise her skeptics. The actress is known best for Game of Thrones but has already proven she’s more than Arya Stark – with a growing filmography and range of experience. She might not look exactly like Ellie (or Ellen Page) but she’s got the chops to properly capture the character’s spirit. That said, if it takes Sony a few years to develop the film, an older Williams could still “play young” in The Last of Us but Ellie’s wonderment and naivety is part of what makes the character so interesting – and a smart counterpart for her jaded costar, Joel. For that reason, should Williams grow too old (and tall) for the role, a new teenage actress might have an easier (and more natural) time bringing out key characteristics of the character – not to mention crafting believable surrogate father/daughter chemistry with her costar.
No doubt, above all else, the evolving relationship between Ellie and Joel is what made The Last of Us such a rewarding, and unique, experience for gamers. The film industry is already overstuffed with post-apocalyptic zombie stories – so it’ll be essential for Sony to maintain the integrity of the core character Last of Us story in order for the property to standout on the big screen.
In the interview, Williams also teases a possible “superhero” role – in a new TV series (that’s still a few years away). The actress isn’t able to elaborate with much detail but seems to indicate that she’s been approached for an in-development show that would feature her in a role akin to Hit Girl (from Kick-Ass).
Williams discusses the project in the video (at the 12:40 mark) but you can also read her comments in full below:
“There’s not much I can talk about, but there’s actually been a very exciting project and a very exciting group of people who have approached me about a new series. I can’t say the title, I’m not saying anything about it, but it’s in that sort of superhero vein, in the same vein as Kick-Ass where the superhero is not super and just has great intentions. That would not be happening yet, it would be happening in a few years, but something that we’ve been in talks about for a little while and I’m really, really, really excited about it.
“It was originally to be written as a graphic novel, it’s not based on anything. It was kind of inspired just from walking around Comic-Con and seeing so many woman dressed as all these almost sexualized female superheroes and just thinking if I was a superhero, I would just want to wear a hoodie and jeans, and taking that and making it into a superhero that isn’t wearing spandex and isn’t a sexy Catwoman or that sort of thing.”
Without a doubt, there’s room for further riffs on the superhero genre – especially one that was designed as a response to the sexualization of female superheroes. Given her work on Game of Thrones, Williams would be a smart (and capable) fit for a hero with great intentions that isn’t exactly “super.”
Neither The Last of Us or Williams’ unspecified superhero project have firm release dates – but we’ll keep you updated as we hear more.
The Last of Us is currently available for PlayStation 3 and as an HD Remaster on PlayStation 4.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for any future updates on The Last of Us, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.