Some video games are so abstract and plotless that when a movie version gets announced you can't help but wonder how the hell it's going to work (see the recent announcement of a live-action Minecraft movie). Then there are games which are already so cinematic that the idea of a film adaptation seems almost obsolete.
Naughty Dog's Uncharted franchise, which was essentially designed as a Hollywood action movie in which the main character was controlled by the player, is just one example of the latter. Yet Uncharted has a movie adaptation in the works and so too does The Last of Us, Naughty Dog's critically-acclaimed post-apocalyptic drama.
According to THR, Sony Pictures announced today that The Last of Us is making the move to the big screen, with the game's creative director Neil Druckmann penning the film's script. Druckmann will also co-produce the film alongside game director Bruce Straley. Sam Raimi will produce the film through his Ghost House Pictures Banner, and Screen Gems will distribute. The announcement isn't too much of a surprise, since rumors about an adaptation have been floating around for a while, but this is the first time that anything's been set in stone.
The Last of Us follows two survivors of a viral outbreak that causes fungi to grow on people's brains and transform them into violent, deformed zombies. Joel is a grizzled smuggler who lost his daughter during the initial outbreak twenty years previously, and is tasked with escorting a teenage girl across the changed landscape of America. Ellie, meanwhile, is only fourteen years old and has never experienced what the world was like before society broke down, instead learning how to survive the hard way from an early age.
The Last of Us was recently nominated for ten video game BAFTAs (with winners to be announced at the ceremony next week), including Best Performer nominations for both Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson. Neither actor really resembles their character enough to play them in the screen version - with Johnson being too old to play Ellie and Baker slightly too young to play Joel - but there are plenty of stars out there who could put their own interesting spins on the lead roles. Gerard Butler, for example, is almost an exact physical match for Joel.
That's only, of course, if The Last of Us turns out to be a direct adaptation of the video game. Naughty Dog created a very broad world with plenty of potential for other stories that Druckmann could write in the same universe. The game had some stunning landscapes of cities and towns left broken down and overgrown with plant life, so there's potential for a very visually interesting film. Just be sure to keep an ear out for clickers.
We'll keep you updated on The Last of Us as the project develops.