We knew that Neil Druckmann, creative director of the video game The Last of Us, was serving as an executive producer on the HBO series adaptation of the game and had substantial creative influence on the show, but now it has been revealed that Druckmann is so involved with the show that he’s even working as one of the directors. This information comes from a production list shared by the Director’s Guild of Canada.
It was previously announced that episodes of The Last of Us are being directed by Kantemir Balagov (Beanpole), Jasmila Zbanic (Quo vadis, Aida), and Ali Abbasi (Border). Oddly, Abbasi is absent from the production list, but there are two other directors named aside from Balagov, Zbanic, and Druckmann. They are series writer Craig Mazin (The Specials) and Peter Hoar, who has also directed episodes of Doctor Who, Daredevil, Iron Fist, The Defenders, Runaways, It’s a Sin, and DaVinci’s Demons, among others.
Every episode of The Last of Us has a budget that well exceeds eight figures, and according to the production list the first season of the show is going to be filming for nearly one year straight, from July 12, 2021 to June 8, 2022.
The video game’s story is set
years after a fungal plague wiped out much of humanity, transforming most into vicious zombie-like monsters, the story follows Joel, who’s living in a militarized quarantine zone. He has a close relationship with Tess, who operates in the black market of this community. Together, they’ve become known by the local criminal underworld for their ruthlessness. On a mission to reclaim their stolen guns, they run into the leader of the Fireflies, a resistance group, who tasks them with smuggling a young girl named Ellie out of the zone. This mission soon becomes much more than they were prepared for.
The cast of HBO’s The Last of Us includes Pedro Pascal as Joel, who is “tormented by past trauma and failure. He must trek across a pandemic-ravaged America, all the while protecting a girl who represents the last hope of humanity”; Bella Ramsey as Ellie, “a 14-year-old orphan who has never known anything but a ravaged planet and who struggles 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”; Anna Torv as Tess, “a smuggler and hardened survivor in a post-pandemic world”; Gabriel Luna as Joel’s brother Tommy, “a former soldier who hasn’t lost his sense of idealism and hope for a better world”; Merle Dandridge as Marlene, “the head of the Fireflies, a resistance movement struggling for freedom against an oppressive military regime”; Nico Parker as Joel’s daughter Sarah; Jeffrey Pierce as Perry, “a rebel in a quarantine zone”; and Con O’Neill and Murray Bartlett as Bill and Frank, “two post-pandemic survivalists living alone in their own isolated town.”
The Last of Us is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television, PlayStation Productions, Word Games, The Mighty Mint, and game developer Naughty Dog. Druckmann serves as executive producer alongside Carolyn Strauss, Naughty Dog’s Evan Wells, Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan of PlayStation Productions, and Mazin.