The Last Of Us Cast Look The Part (But That Could Be Problematic)

The Last Of Us Cast Look The Part (But That Could Be Problematic)

HBO’s adaptation of The Last of Us has been long-awaited and a lot of the cast look the part, but is their suitability for their roles only skin deep?

Many of the cast for HBO’s The Last of Us adaptation physically resemble the characters from the video game, but that might not be a good thing. Cinematic adaptations of video games are notorious for being risky moves, and The Last of Us adaptation spent a long time trapped in development hell before a movie idea was scrapped and HBO moves ahead with a TV series. With a strong fan base and a hesitancy about video game adaptations, the casting for the TV series was always going to be a high-stakes situation.

The original The Last of Us video game follows Joel (Troy Baker, Pedro Pascal in the series) and Ellie (Ashley Johnson, Bella Ramsey in the series) as they attempt to cross the United States while avoiding groups of infected and murderous survivors alike. The two form a close bond during their journey which informs The Last of Us Part II and their relationship is central to the narrative. Along the way, they meet a range of allies and the casting announcements make it clear that the HBO adaptation will stay relatively true to the story from the game.


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Pedro Pascal’s casting for The Last of Us was lauded, in part because he’s a talented actor, but also because he bears a close resemblance in appearance to his character, Joel Miller. Since then several of the other actors cast also look a lot like their video game counterparts with the most recent addition being Nick Offerman as the cantankerous longer Bill. While this might help the atmosphere of the show to match that of the games and make it feel like a more faithful adaptation, it could also have some negative side effects. The similarity in appearances suggests that it might have been a major criteria for the casting choices, and if the casting was done primarily on appearance then it is good news for promotional images and trailers but there is no guarantee that the actors will be able to embody the character for the full 10-episode season.

Joel Miller Pedro Pascal The Last of Us

Other recent adaptations, most notably Amazon’s The Wheel of Time have done their casting almost entirely on vibe, approaching it as blind casting. This has been a marked success with relatively unknown actors managing to embody the figures from the books. There is ultimately a minority of the audience who are upset that characters do not look exactly as they imagined they would or that every detail in appearance has not been kept the same, as there are more important elements in the portrayal of a character.

While the cast looking so much like the original characters could be a negative, whether it is or not will not be clear until the show actually premieres. There is still plenty of reason to have hope for The Last of Us TV series. The show has made a rare decision to bring a voice actor in to play their original character with Merle Dandridge reprising her role as Marlene, and combined with Neil Druckmann, the creative director for the original games, being involved throughout there is a lot of promise in HBO’s The Last of Us TV series.

Next: HBO’s The Last Of Us Can Pay Off Part 2’s Franchise Setup

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