The Last of Us is an action adventure video game that integrates the horror genre and taps into the millennial fascination with all things zombie-related. Hugely successful as a video game, it has won hundreds of “Game of the Year” awards and was one of the best-grossing games of 2013. Now it has been announced that The Last of Us will be coming to theaters in a big screen adaptation.
The Last of Us is a game for the Sony Playstation that was produced by Naughty Dog, the same developer that produced Uncharted. The player controls protagonist Joel, who finds himself in a post-apocalyptic American wasteland after an outbreak of the Cordyceps fungus which devastates the United States and turns many of the residents into zombie-like creatures. He is accompanied by a young girl, Ellie, whom he seeks to protect as the two journey to the quarantine zone. The Cordyceps virus turns victims into cannibalistic zombies within two days. Although Ellie has been infected, she does not appear to develop the condition. As a result, she may be the only hope for a cure for the disease, and is pursued by hostile humans and zombies alike. The relationship between Joel and Ellie is central to the game. In protecting her, Joel, who has military training, uses a variety of fire arms and alternative weapons as well as stealth.
In the game, Joel is voiced by Troy Baker (Miscellaneous Crew), and Ellie by Ashley Johnson. Astute viewers may recognize Johnson from her previous movie work; She played a waitress in The Avengers.
The original soundtrack for The Last of Us was composed by movie great Gustavo Santaolalla. Santaolalla, a native of Argentina, is a two-time Academy Award winner. He took home his first Oscar for Brokeback Mountain in 2005, and his second for Babel in 2006. He also worked on Heavy Metal 2000, Shrek 2, Into the Wild, and TV’s The Sopranos. He is known for his serious and emotional scores, and his work gives The Last of Us a different feel than more conventional horror scores.
The Last of Us has enjoyed tremendous critical success. It topped numerous “best of” lists and garnered positive ratings in the 90s from both GameRankings and Metacritic. It was also praised by Empire Magazine, Edge, Eurogamer, IGN, Polygon, and GameSpot. At the 2014 BAFTA Awards, The Last of Us took home five prizes. Critics praised not only the graphics and art direction, but also the sophisticated plot, particularly the relationship between Joel and Ellie. The richness of that relationship will give the screenwriter for The Last of Us lots to work with when writing for the movie adaptation gets underway.
On March 6, 2014, The Last of Us creator Neil Druckmann announced that a screen adaptation of The Last of Us will be distributed by Screen Gems. He specified that the adaptation will be based on the first game. Sam Raimi, who directed Spider-Man 3, will be producing. Druckmann himself intends to write the screenplay, as well as co-produce with Raimi, Naughty Dog Co-Presidents Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra, and Game Director Bruce Straley. Raimi’s production company Ghost House Pictures will also be involved.
At San Diego Comic Con 2014 it was revealed that Raimi had been in talks with Maisie Williams for the role of Ellie. Williams is famous for her work as Arya Stark in HBO’s fantasy epic Game of Thrones. Troy Baker, the voice of Joel, has expressed that he would be interested in reprising his role on the big screen.
There is no release date currently available for The Last of Us.
Featured image by thelastofus.playstation.com