The Season 1 finale of The Last of Us left us all deeply in our feelings. Screenshot from "The Last of Us" HBO / Via giphy.com
Like, it was so good, tho.
And now we're left with a Joel and Ellie-sized hole not just in our Sunday evening television schedule, but in our hearts. Screenshot from "The Last of Us" HBO / Via giphy.com So, to help ease the pain, here are 26 behind-the-scenes facts to keep you afloat.
*MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD*
1. While filming the joke book scenes, Bella Ramsey turned to on-set inside jokes to make Pedro Pascal laugh.
"The thing with puns, if you do it take after take after take, it becomes unfunny very quickly," Ramsey said during a
roundtable interview with Sony. "So then, what we did, I pulled back inside jokes that we'd had." Pascal backed them up saying, "You knew exactly how to get me to laugh." HBO 2. The stars of the show were told not to play the game that inspired the show prior to filming.
Bella Ramsey told
that she and Pedro Pascal were "advised, encouraged, and ordered to stay away from it." But they didn't exactly follow those rules. "We disobeyed those orders. ... And we didn't know that the other had been told to not [play] it, so we had a little moment like, 'Hey, did you you like, research this at all?'" And they both had. Entertainment Tonight Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images 3. On-set temperatures were so frigid while filming Episode 8 that Bella Ramsey could barely speak.
interview with GQ, Ramsey revealed that it was ONE DEGREE FAHRENHEIT outside! "It was very, very cold. That scene where I meet David and James, Troy Baker's character, in the forest, that was the coldest day that we shot," they said. "My voice sort of changes a bit in that scene. ... It's so hard to speak normally when it's that cold, like your mouth just doesn't work. ... And Ali Abbasi, the director of that episode, he likes long takes. Like, eight-minute-long takes, holding this super heavy gun in the freezing cold… everything you see is very real." Liane Hentscher/HBO 4. The original voice and motion capture actor who portrayed Joel in the video game was in an episode of the show.
In Episode 8, “When We Are in Need,” Troy Baker takes on a guest role as the second in command of a cannibalistic religious cult. In an
interview with Vulture, Baker described shooting the show, saying, "It’s cold, and we’re in this beautiful location, the wind is blowing, and there’s trees and real snow on the ground. ... I laugh. Scott, who plays [the leader of the cult], was like, 'What are you doing? This is not a funny scene.' I’m like, 'Dude, if you could’ve gone back 12 years and told the dude that walked into an audition for a video game that he’d be standing here under these circumstances'… It’s mind boggling. I’m elated to be a part of it, and I’m excited there’s now millions of people who are joining the conversation that we’ve all been having for the last 10 years." Liane Hentscher/HBO
Ashley Johnson was responsible for bringing Ellie to life in the video game series, but in the show, she
literally brought Ellie to life by playing her mom, Anna. Talking with TVLine, Johnson described her time on set, "I had a blast, the whole time. Even though it was such heavy subject matter, it was so fun to see the prosthetics in person. ... I don’t even know how to describe it! Something that you’ve loved for so long and that you’ve been a part of, and then to finally see it come to light for the rest of the world to see it and be made in such a beautiful way? Yeah, it’s an amazing feeling." Liane Hentscher/HBO 6. Bella Ramsey apparently squatted Pedro Pascal while on set.
HBO Max featurette, Ramsey was joking about not being able survive in the apocalypse, but Pascal quickly came in saying, "You can take down a person. You've done squats with me on your back." To which Ramsey responded, "True, that's true." I want to know how and why please! Liane Hentscher/HBO 7. Pedro Pascal forgot he was cast as Joel due to the effects of a sleep aid.
Pedro revealed on an episode of
that when he got the call telling him he was cast in The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon The Last of Us, he was deep in an Ambien haze. "I take an Ambien to go to sleep, because they've got my adrenaline going and my hopes up," he said. The only problem was that by time he woke up the next morning, he'd forgotten taking the call the night before. "I was excited...but I didn't remember. I woke up in the morning, and the first thing that occurred to me was like, 'Oh man, I really want that job.'" But when he finally looked at his phone and saw texts congratulating him on landing the role, he was like, "Oh yeah, I got the job!" Axelle / FilmMagic 8. Bella Ramsey got a real black eye during filming.
While filming a scene in Episode 5 where Ellie is fighting a Clicker, the infected actor got a little
too into the role. "I got so many bruises, and I actually got a real black eye at one point," Ramsey told IGN FanFest. "I stab the Clicker, and he dies, and at one point, as he was flailing around dying during a take, he accidentally, the poor guy, whacked me in the eye. I was so proud of it. I had a great time." Liane Hentscher/HBO 9. During the reunion scene between Joel and his brother Tommy (Gabriel Luna), Pedro Pascal cried during every single take, even when he wasn't on camera.
The director of Episode 6, Jasmila Žbanić
, recently sat down with Variety and revealed just what a dedicated actor Pedro really is. She said, "I was filming [Pedro] as a second; first we filmed Gabriel, and then, I noticed that each time we repeated, Pedro was crying. He was not on camera, but he was crying because he was giving his partner everything so that he can act. This is very special. It’s so generous of an actor to do this so deep. I was amazed by Pedro’s talent." Liane Hentscher/HBO 10. Pedro Pascal's favorite scenes to film were of him and Bella Ramsey riding the horse.
"It was always nice to get on the horse with Bella," he
told IGN FanFest. "Especially if it was a nice wide shot so that no one could bother us. We could turn our mics off and have our conversations." These two are so precious I can barely stand it! Liane Hentscher/HBO 11. Storm Reid inspired Bella Ramsey to enroll in university.
Ramsey cited watching Storm Reid (who played Riley in Episode 7 "Left Behind") studying on the set of
The Last of Us. She said she was inspired watching Reid wear multiple hats as an actor and a student, and immediately enrolled at Open University to study environmental science. Liane Hentscher/HBO 12. Mahershala Ali was apparently in the running to play Joel.
According to series star Jeffrey Pierce who plays Perry (and voiced Tommy in the game!) revealed to
the Direct that Pedro Pascal wasn't set to play Joel when he auditioned to play Tommy in the HBO series. "I think initially they had talked to Mahershala Ali about playing Joel, which is an obvious cue that I’m not gonna play Tommy. … And when they cast Pedro, I knew like, yeah, that was certainly not going to happen. ... I’m older than Pedro Pascal." Adam Rose / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images 13. Merle Dandridge, the actor who played Marlene in the video game, got the rare opportunity to also portray the character in the live-action adaptation.
interview with TVLine, the actor talked about stepping back into the role. "I have this deep connection with this character. ... The fact that it was even brought to my table was very exciting. ... Not only does that never happen, but to get 10 years of still being in love with the character and then aging into the character? I mean, is this some kind of Hollywood dream come true?" Photograph Courtesy of HBO 14. Bella Ramsey got so used to speaking with an American accent that it was hard for them to switch back.
Talking about how they felt when production on Season 1 wrapped, Ramsey
told W Magazine, “When I [first] got home, I found it difficult to settle back into being just Bella and speaking with a British accent again.” Liane Hentscher/HBO 15. Troy Baker gave his blessing to Pedro Pascal taking over the role. Talking with Vulture, the actor shared that, "Every episode, there’s some moment where I go, I didn’t think about that. I didn’t see that. It catches me off guard in the best way. That’s all I really wanted: for Pedro...to just teach me something new that I didn’t realize about the character. What did I miss? Was there a blind spot that I had? Was there some element to it that we could’ve explored more?" Liane Hentscher/HBO 16. Pedro Pascal played songs from Olivia Newton-John's Xanadu on set to keep everyone in good spirits. The Last of Us is not exactly a "feel good" show, and often leaves you in emotional tatters, so I can only assume that filming the show had to be equally as intense. To combat that, we learned that Pascal kept things light on set with the camp classic Xanadu. As if he wasn't hot enough already, LOL. Liane Hentscher/HBO 17. The huge fight scene in Episode 5 was done using practical effects, and was shot over the course of three weeks.
Lamar Johnson, who played Henry in Episode 5,
talked with Deadline about filming the episode, and revealed that what we saw on screen was not the result of just digital effects. "It was pretty intense; everything was [practical]. The entire cul-de-sac was built; all the houses when the infected came out of the ground were real. It was all stunt men and stunt women with this crazy makeup on and everything like that. It was an intense day. ... I’m a fan to see the amount of work and dedication from the makeup team and special effects team that they put into. ... I couldn’t even tell you how many Clickers were there that day. ... It was a fun time; intense, too, but fun." Liane Hentscher/HBO 18. The Bloater, which wasn't CGI either, and the actor inside the suit is, well... 😳
The Bloater is no doubt one of the scariest versions of the infected we've seen, and when it comes barreling out of a hole in the ground to DECAPITATE people, it was pretty disturbing. But the man behind the Bloater is foine AF. UK stuntman Adam Basil donned the
88 POUND suit created by prosthetics designer Barrie Gower who was also the mastermind behind Vecna on Season 4 of Stranger Things! The Bloater might be scary, but Adam Basil can GET IT. Photograph Courtesy of HBO, @ adanm.basil / Via instagram.com 19. The decision to cut one of Joel's most iconic lines from the video game was actually Pedro Pascal's decision. Speaking with Radio Times, Joel's original voice actor Troy Baker revealed that Joel's iconic line during the fight between him and Ellie in Episode 6 was cut at the hands of Pedro Pascal. In the game, Joel warns Ellie, "You are treading on some mighty thin ice here," but according to Baker, Pascal didn't think it fit the show. "Pedro was like, 'It just doesn’t feel right for me to say that. It feels forced.' The confidence to be able to say that and the confidence on [the creators' part to change it]. That’s what I love." Liane Hentscher/HBO 20. Pedro Pascal was intimidated by the role because the video game series is so beloved.
"It became very, very clear very quickly how much people love the game," Pascal told
. "That was scary. ... People's relationship to [playing the game] is a deep one, and we want to expand on that, meet expectations, surpass expectations...and also honor what was originally there. And um, we're exhausted." Entertainment Tonight Liane Hentscher/HBO 21. The actors portraying the infected had to go through a movement bootcamp to learn how to be extra creepy.
In a behind-the-scenes
featurette from HBO, we learned that before the scene in Episode 5 where the infected coming pouring up from out of the ground, they took part in a movement bootcamp lead by Terry Notary who worked on Planet of the Apes. And talking about the benefit of working with actors vs. CGI models, he said, "When you have a human being playing these characters, you really get the subtleties that are so hard for animators. It takes them forever to recreate it." HBO 22. Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey were cracking each other up on set so much they delayed shooting.
"We would show up for each other and balance out one another's anxiety by laughter," Pascal
shared with Sony. "Very contagious, inappropriate, shoot-delaying laughter, that [Bella] wants to play innocent on, and then I was always blamed for." The interview devolves into the two of them fighting back and forth about who was making the other laugh the most before they ultimately blame Anna Torv who played Tess in the first two episodes. "We had to kill Tess just to make it through the days without laughing," joked the show's co-creator Craig Mazin. Rodin Eckenroth / WireImage 23. Gabriel Luna couldn't help but take some custom-made costume pieces from set.
"Well, a few things fell off the costume truck and somehow ended up in my bag," Luna joked to
HBO Max. "One of which being a beautiful belt buckle that was made by an 85-year-old craftsman there in Calgary, Alberta." He also took a pair of custom-made boots made specifically for him by the Alberta Boot Company Liane Hentscher/HBO 24. Pedro Pascal's now-iconic valley girl voice on SNL was inspired by The Last of Us.
told Seth Meyers that the cast and crew would use this voice on set in between takes, and when the SNL writers asked him if he had any ideas for sketches, he couldn't resist. "[Speaking this way is] very contagious. It will not stop. It spread like a fungus amongst the set." NBC 25. The Last of Us was almost an animated series instead.
told the Direct that, "There have been a couple of different iterations over time. There was a movie at one point. There was a motion-capture cinematic animated series at one point." I'm sure any version would be amazing, but I'm sure glad we got the one we did! David Mcnew / Getty Images 26. And finally, there's at least two more seasons on the way!
The show was renewed for a second season back in January, but recently, the game and show's creator Neil Druckmann
confirmed to GQ the adaptation of The Last of Us Part II will be "more than one season." And it appears there might be some surprises in store for us in the seasons to come. "Some of the stuff I'm most excited for [in Part 2] are the changes we've discussed and seeing the story come to life again in this other version. And I think it's exciting because it leans into those feelings you had from the game, really heavily, in a new way." Liane Hentscher/HBO What did you think of The Last of Us Season 1? Let me know in the comments!