The Last of Us Wasn’t Pitched to HBO as a Zombie Show

the last of us episode 5 recap

Speaking with Deadline, HBO executive Francesca Orsi recalled her reaction when The Last of Us series creator Craig Mazin first pitched the project to them. She revealed that Mazin didn’t initially presented it as a big zombie show, but instead emphasized the project’s exploration of family and the relationship between Joel and Ellie.

“Craig didn’t lead with that. While there’s a big entertainment factor that’s tied to the zombie nature of the show and its story, he really focused on the sort of love story, the relationship between Pedro Pascal’s character and Bella Ramsay’s character, Joel and Ellie, and exploring family and the ways in which the surrogate daughter that Ellie becomes to Joel in light of the tragic death of his biological daughter, is what I think grabbed us most,” Orsi said. “And it was the profound, deeper exploration of love and family that he was after that had us all leaning in.”

Buy The Last of Us Part I for $69

Pre-production on The Last of Us Season 2 has been impacted by the ongoing WGA strike, as its recent casting auditions were temporarily shut down. It’s currently unclear if this would also delay HBO’s target release date for the hit horror drama’s highly anticipated return.

Who’s the Cast of The Last of Us Series?

The Last of Us currently stars Pedro Pascal as Joel, Bella Ramsey as Ellie, Gabriel Luna as Tommy Miller, and Rutina Wesley as Maria. Season 1 also featured Nico Parker, Anna Torv, Melanie Lynskey, Murray Bartlett, Nick Offerman, and Storm Reid. It also included guest-star appearances from the original video game’s actors Jeffrey Pierce, Merle Dandridge, Troy Baker, and Ashley Johnson as new characters.

The series is executive produced and co-written by Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin and original game writer Neil Druckmann, who is also serving as one of the directors. It is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television in association with PlayStation Productions. Executive producers are Carolyn Strauss, Naughty Dog President Evan Wells, and PlayStation Productions’ Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan.

“The live-action series takes place 20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed,” reads the synopsis. “Joel and Ellie, a pair connected through the harshness of the world they live in, are forced to endure brutal circumstances and ruthless killers on a trek across a post-pandemic America.”

Season 1 is now available for streaming on HBO Max.

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