Late last month, Neil Druckmann offered The Last of Us fans an update on how things were going with his and Craig Mazin's (Chernobyl) Pedro Pascal (Joel) and Bella Ramsey (Ellie)-starring live-action HBO series adaptation of video game franchise that discussed the series' approach to adapting the source material while also carving out its own identity. Now we're getting an update on when the work to make that dream a reality will be kicking off, with CBC News reporting that the Director's Guild of Canada is listing the series as beginning production in Calgary starting July 5- with a wrap date set at June 8, 2022. In addition, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE 212- Calgary's film and stage technicians union) lists The Last of Us as being in production this July.
Druckmann offered more details on the series during an IGN interview at SXSW 2021, explaining that while the series will borrow dialogue from the original game, it will also "deviate greatly" from events players have gotten to know. "We talked at length [that season 1 of the show is going to be [the first game]," Druckmann explained. "As far as the superficial things, like should [a character] wear the same plaid shirt or the same red shirt? They might or might not appear in it, that's way less important to us than getting the core of who these people are and the core of their journey." As mentioned earlier, there will definitely be lines of dialogue that fans will recognize- as well as large parts of the series that will reflect the story being told as a television series. "Things sometimes stay pretty close. It's funny to see my dialogue there from the games in HBO scripts. And sometimes they deviate greatly to much better effect because we are dealing with a different medium," he explained.
Druckmann continued, "For example, in the game, there's so much action you have to have to train the player about mechanics. You have to have more violence and more spectacle to some degree than you would need on a TV show because you don't need to train people on how to use a gun. So that's something that's been really different, and HBO's been great in pushing us to move away from hardcore action and focus more on the drama of the character. Some of my favorite episodes so far have deviated greatly from the story, and I can't wait for people to see them." But while a caution about revealing spoilers was expected, Druckmann did offer one teaser fans should appreciate: "I just saw the first prosthetic test for the Clicker and it's awesome. It's so rad to see this thing come to physical life."
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. 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.
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 and Carter Swan, Mazin, and Druckmann. The series is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television, with PlayStation Productions, Word Games, and Naughty Dog producing.