The Last of Us’ Pedro Pascal Ignored Instructions Not to Play the Game

Joel and Sarah from HBO Max's The Last of Us

The Last of Us star Pedro Pascal admits he played the original video game despite being asked not to do so by the show’s creative team.

The Last of Us star Pedro Pascal recently revealed that he ignored instructions from HBO not to play the video game on which the post-apocalyptic series is based.

Pascal, who plays The Last of Us protagonist Joel, admitted to booting up Naughty Dog’s acclaimed 2013 action-adventure game in an interview with WIRED. “I hadn’t heard of the game,” he said. “[HBO’s] instruction was: Don’t play the game. I ignored them. I tried to play the game, and I was very, very bad at it. (But my nephew was fantastic.) It was important to me to play notes that were directly related to what was originally in the game — physically, visually, vocally.”

Related: How HBO’s The Last of Us Improves on The Walking Dead Formula

Pascal’s comments track with previous remarks by his co-star Bella Ramsey. Ramsey, who portrays Joel’s 14-year-old companion Ellie, noted that HBO “encouraged” her not to play The Last of Us after landing the role. “After my first audition, they asked me, ‘Have you played it?’ And I said ‘nope,’ and they said, ‘Keep it that way,'” she said. Ramsey added that she took HBO’s guidance to heart and didn’t play the game, although she did review gameplay footage online to ensure she didn’t go into the Last of Us shoot completely unfamiliar with the show’s source material.

The Last of Us Creators on Adapting Video Games

Keeping the cast away from the game was just one of many challenges the Last of Us creative team faced as part of the adaptation process, according to co-creator Craig Mazin. Mazin opened up about what it takes to translate a game into live-action in a recent interview, noting that most adaptations fail because they’re made “very cynically by people who don’t play the games at all.” He went on to say that The Last of Us differs from other video game-inspired movies and TV shows in that respect, as he and co-creator Neil Druckmann “understand every little tiny bit” of the game and why it appeals to fans.

Related: The Last of Us Had HBO’s Biggest Premiere Since House of the Dragon

In the same interview, Druckmann recalled earlier attempts to adapt The Last of Us as a movie instead of a TV series. Druckmann, who also co-directed the game, said that streamlining the Last of Us‘ narrative into a two-hour film proved impossible. In a previous interview, he also laid some of the blame for The Last of Us movie not happening on studio interference. “When I worked on the movie version, a lot of the thinking and notes were like ‘How do we make it bigger? How do we make the set pieces bigger?'” he said. “I think that’s ultimately why the movie wasn’t made.”

The Last of Us is now streaming on HBO and HBO Max, with new episodes dropping Sundays.

Source: WIRED


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