A little more than a month after learning that Academy Award nominee Jasmila Žbanić (Quo vadis, Aida) and Ali Abbasi (Border) were set to join Kantemir Balagov (Beanpole, Closeness) in the director's chair for Neil Druckmann (game franchise) and Craig Mazin's live-action HBO series adaptation of The Last of Us, it looks like a member of the video game franchise will be making the jump to the highly-anticipated cable series. THR is reporting exclusively that Merle Dandridge is set to portray the resistance leader Marlene- the same role they voiced in both video games. Dandridge joins a cast that includes Pedro Pascal (Joel), Bella Ramsey (Ellie), and Gabriel Luna (Tommy, Joel's younger brother).
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. 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.
Written by Mazin and Druckmann with Balagov 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.
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