The Last of Us has started production in Calgary as revealed by series star Gabriel Luna with an image from the set posted to Instagram. Based on the popular video game of the same name by Naughty Dog, The Last of Us will star Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) in a lead role as Joel, the original game’s playable character. Luna co-stars as Joel’s brother Tommy, another character featured in the video game.
On Friday, Diego Luna shared an image of himself in the driver’s seat of a vehicle with Pascal seated next to him in the front seat. Also present in the back seat is Nico Parker (Dumbo), who was just recently added to the cast to play Joel’s daughter. With the three actors playing members of the same family, it would seem that the group is currently working adapting the game’s opening scene, showing how life used to be before a viral outbreak completely changed the world.
“Already love these folks,” Luna writes in the caption, adding the hashtags #MillerTime and #thelastofus.
Staying largely faithful to the storyline established in the video game, The Last of Us is set 20 years after the fall of modern civilization. A deadly viral outbreak has decimated the population, leaving behind contagious mutants and violent raiders across a barren wasteland. Joel (Pedro Pascal), a hardened survivor, is tasked with smuggling 14-year-old girl Ellie (Bella Ramsey, Game of Thrones) out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as just another job becomes something so much more as the pair rely on each other to survive.
Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin and video game series creator Neil Druckmann collaborated to develop the TV series adaptation of The Last of Us for HBO. Kantemir Balagov will direct the pilot episode, and Jasmila &Žbani&ć and Ali Abbas are also on board as directors. PlayStation Pictures, Word Games, The Mighty Mint, and Naughty Dog produce the series, a co-production with Sony Pictures Television.
“It’s not to keep you in love with The Last of Us, it’s to make you fall in love again with The Last of Us in a different way,” Mazin said of adapting the game into a TV series, via a BBC Sounds’ Must Watch interview. “It’s a passive way, in the sense that you’re taking it in, you’re not playing it. But you’re experiencing more with more characters in more ways. And I think we’ve got something good going.”
He added: “When you’re watching a television show, you are not a person. You’re all of them-hopefully you are connected with or experiencing something with all of them. So it’s a very different way of approaching narrative, and requires us to make certain choices as well. But everything that we’re doing is being done with extreme care and thoughtfulness for what we know we love about it.”
Druckmann and Mazin wrote the series and serve as executive producers. Also executive producing are Carolyn Strauss alongside Naughty Dog president Evan Wells, Asad Qizilbash, and Carter Swan of PlayStation Productions, as well as Rose Lam. Merle Dandridge, who played Marlene in the video game, will reprise the role for the series.
A release date hasn’t yet been set for The Last of Us, but it’s not likely to arrive on HBO anytime earlier than late 2022. Filming is scheduled to last for about a full year, starting with July 2021 and lasting through June of next year. Everything we know about the series is promising at this point, given the creative team and the acting talent involved, but let’s just hope the wait is worth it.