The Last of Us script is written, but Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann hopes it's never turned into a movie, at least not in its current form. Sony Pictures has been busy mining Sony PlayStation's archive of first-party video games, and a few titles from Naughty Dog have caught their attention: Uncharted and The Last of Us. While the Uncharted film recently morphed from being a direct adaptation into an origin story about a young Nathan Drake, The Last of Us movie is still stalling.
Sony Pictures and Screen Gems first announced plans to develop The Last of Us movie in March 2014, less than one year after the game had hit store shelves. Former Spider-Man director and Evil Dead creator Sam Raimi was attached to produce the adaptation based on a script from Druckmann, who co-directed the game with Bruce Straley. Despite the initial promise in the adaptation, it started to fall by the wayside and, ultimately, The Last of Us entered development hell in 2016. But, as is turns out, the people at Naughty Dog are fine with that because they don't want an adaptation of the game anyway.
In a conversation with 10 Cloverfield Lane director Dan Trachtenberg at DICE Summit 2018, Naughty Dog creative director Neil Druckmann briefly addressed The Last of Us movie adaptation, saying he hopes that Screen Gems doesn't use the script he wrote for the film.
"...And even I worked on the script for The Last of Us film, which was a direct adaptation. And now, having some separation from it, I look back and [am] like, 'I don't want that movie to be made.'"
Many fans would undoubtedly be excited to see The Last of Us film come to fruition, but Druckmann pointed out earlier in the conversation while discussing the Uncharted film adaptation that he and everyone else at Naughty Dog aren't interested in direct adaptations of their games, because most of their games are cinematic by nature and those stories have already been told. However, Druckmann would be interested in a movie that tells a different story within The Last of Us' world, or perhaps one with different characters.
"Maybe there's something that could be done in the world, either focusing on other characters or other time. But, for me, and I know for Naughty Dog and for a lot of our fans, Nolan North is Nathan Drake, Ashley Johnson is Ellie, Troy Baker is Joel. And it would be very disorienting to see someone else in that role."
Sony could take cues from comic book movies and develop a Last of Us movie that tells a story akin to the game but doesn't strictly adapt the source material. That would also allow the filmmakers the creative freedom to expand the game's world and set up potential sequels. Of course, that would also satisfy Druckmann and the rest of the Naughty Dog team who don't want to see Joel and Ellie's story retold on the big screen.
Source: Neil Druckmann