If you’re a sucker for survival horror titles, post-apocalypse scenarios, and self-inflicted heartbreak, then you’ve probably played through The Last of Us, Naughty Dog’s acclaimed 2013 PS3 release. And if you’re a fan of big screen video game adaptations, then you probably know that Sony has been contemplating the notion of turning The Last of Us into its own feature film, directly transplanting the events of the game from your Playstation to the multiplex, with Neil Druckmann (one of the game’s original directors) on board as scribe.
Well, score another win for SDCC, because it looks like Sony is indeed working diligently at getting The Last of Us off the ground and into theaters; at today’s Screen Gems panel, Druckmann took to the stage with horror icon Sam Raimi (serving the picture in a producer capacity) to chat about the process of turning the game into a movie. Specifically, they discussed the challenges of remaining true to the source (though they also broached the idea of changing the ending) while also figuring out how to condense fifteen hours of playtime into an appropriate length for a film.
Most importantly, Druckmann and Raimi touched on casting, mentioning that they’ve spoken with Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams, Arya Stark herself, about playing Ellie in The Last of Us. For those unawares, Ellie is the game’s fourteen year old protagonist; she traverses the United States with her guardian, Joel, staving off infected mutants (but not zombies, as Druckmann points out) and hostile humans on their journey.
As the film is a ways off from going into production – there’s no director attached as of yet, and no other actors involved – it’s best to take all of this well salted for the time being. In between now and The Last of Us‘ start date, Williams could either lose interest in the role, or become too enmeshed with other projects to participate; she also might be considered too grown up to play someone Ellie’s age, as she’s currently seventeen herself. There are no guarantees, in other words. Best not to get one’s hopes up.
But Williams would be a phenomenal pick if her early talks with Druckmann and Raimi end up panning out. Making the leap from Westeros to the backdrop of The Last of Us would likely be a cinch for her; while they’re fundamentally different properties, Williams has spent the last season of Game of Thrones wandering around the war torn lands of her country with an adult protector (of sorts) as her sole companion. Maybe they’re not contending with cannibalistic monsters, but Arya and the Hound have disposed of their fair share of opportunists and criminals. The experience she’s gained from working on Game of Thrones gives her a strong foundation for The Last of Us.
Who might she be acting beside? As per usual whenever Raimi is up for a Q&A about anything, Evil Dead and its legendary B-movie star, Bruce Campbell, were brought up; while neither Raimi nor Druckmann shot the idea of Campbell appearing in The Last of Us down, their responses to it were even less concrete than their thoughts on Williams. Basically, if Williams is a gamble, Campbell is a pipe dream.
For diehard fans of the game, the very idea that Druckmann and Raimi might tinker with its climax is probably a bigger deal than their conversation with Williams. While neither elaborated much on what alterations they had in mind, it’s surprising to learn that Druckmann actually wants to change things up more than Raimi. It’s possible Druckmann just wants to keep his two creations distinct and separate. We’ve already played through Joel’s and Ellie’s story once, after all. No harm in trying to make it different on the second go-round.
We’ll keep you up to date on The Last of Us news as it comes up.
Source: Neil Druckmann, Sam Raimi