The Last of Us: Bella Ramsey on Casting; GOT, Video Game Comparisons

A little less than a month ago, HBO shared a first-look image from Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin's series adaptation of the video game franchise The Last of Us. Boasting a cast that includes Pedro Pascal (Joel), Bella Ramsey (Ellie), Gabriel Luna (Tommy, Joel's younger brother), Nico Parker (Sarah), Merle Dandridge (resistance leader Marlene), Jeffrey Pierce (Perry), Murray Bartlett (Frank), Con O'Neil (Bill), and Anna Torv (Tess), the highly-anticipated series is rolling along with filming. Now, Ramsey is checking in from the 10-month shoot in Canada to offer BBC News a brief update. Here are some of the highlights:

the last of us
Image: HBO

On How Work Helped Ramsey From Being Overwhelmed By the Casting News: "I was quite glad I was busy and working because it is a big thing. It can be quite overwhelming. The fact I had work to keep me semi-distracted from it was a good thing. But it is a complete privilege and an honour. 'Game of Thrones' was the first thing I ever did and that was HBO. The same exec Carolyn Strauss on that is also producing this, so it feels like it's come full circle – it's really nice."

Sorry, "Game of Thrones"- But "The Last of Us" Is Bigger: "It ['The Last of Us'] does definitely feel like the biggest thing I have done and I have to not think about that too much as it freaks me out a little bit. When I got over here I had two weeks' quarantine alone with my thoughts and I had to not think about the scale of it. But when you are on set it's like anything else – the same environment, the same crew."

Ramsey Thinks Video Game Fans Can Relax: "There are quite a few fans of the game in the crew and they've said lots of things are very, very similar to the game, lots of the sets feel like they are walking into the video game, so that's good I guess. Apart from that, I have to keep a lot of it pretty quiet."

The Last of Us is coming to HBO (Image: WarnerMedia)
The Last of Us is coming to HBO (Image: WarnerMedia)

Based on the critically acclaimed video game developed by Naughty Dog exclusively for the PlayStation platforms, the story takes place twenty years after modern civilization has been destroyed. Joel (Pascal), a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie (Ramsey), a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone to the Fireflies, a cure-searching organization. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal, heartbreaking journey, as they both must traverse across the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.

Ramsey's Ellie is a 14-year-old who has never known anything but a ravaged planet, struggling to balance her instinct for anger and defiance with her need for connection and belonging … as well as the newfound reality that she may be the key to saving the world. Luna's Tommy is Joel's younger brother- a formal soldier who still holds on to his sense of idealism and hope for a better world. Dandridge's Marlene is the head of the Fireflies, a resistance movement struggling for freedom against an oppressive military regime, while Parker has been tapped for the role of Joel's daughter, Sarah. Pierce is set to recur as Perry, a rebel in a quarantine zone. Bartlett has been cast as Frank and O'Neil as Bill, two post-pandemic survivalists living alone in their own isolated town. Torv's Tess is a smuggler and hardened survivor in a post-pandemic world who (at least in the video game) works with Joel to survive and smuggle weapons in & out of Boston, and accompanies Joel on the mission to smuggle Ellie to the Fireflies.

Written by Mazin and Druckmann with Kantemir Balagov (Beanpole, Closeness) directing the pilot, the series is set to be executive produced by Carolyn Strauss (Chernobyl, Game of Thrones), Naughty Dog's Evan Wells, PlayStation Productions' Asad Qizilbash & Carter Swan, Mazin, and Druckmann. The series is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television, with PlayStation Productions, Word Games, and Naughty Dog producing. Academy Award nominee Jasmila Žbanić (Quo vadis, Aida) and Ali Abbasi (Border) joins pilot-director Kantemir Balagov (Beanpole, Closeness) in the director's chair.

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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