Only hours after it was announced Game of Thrones star Bella Ramsey had been tapped to play Ellie, Deadline Hollywood is reporting exclusively that The Mandalorian star Pedro Pascal has been tapped to lead Craig Mazin (HBO's Chernobyl) and Neil Druckmann's ("The Last of Us" video game franchises) live-action HBO series adaptation of video game franchise The Last of Us in the lead role of Joel. Tormented by past trauma and failure, Pacscal's Joel must trek across a pandemic-ravaged America, all the while protecting a girl who represents the last hope of humanity. 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.
"Craig and Neil are visionaries in a league of their own," said Orsi when the series order was first announced. "With them at the helm alongside the incomparable Carolyn Strauss, this series is sure to resonate with both die-hard fans of 'The Last of Us' games and newcomers to this genre-defining saga. We're delighted to partner with Naughty Dog, Word Games, Sony and PlayStation to adapt this epic, powerfully immersive story."
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.
"We're thrilled to be working with HBO and this fantastic creative team to bring 'The Last of Us' series to life," said Jeff Frost, President of Sony Pictures Television Studios, and Asad Qizilbash, Head of PlayStation Productions, in a joint statement. "PlayStation's innovative storytelling and ingenuity is a natural complement to SPT's creative focus. Our collaboration is a great example of our 'One Sony' philosophy at work. We look forward to developing even more iconic game IP in the future."