The Last of Us Movie Fell Apart Because It Was Too Action-Focused
The movie adaptation of The Last of Us fell apart because there was too much focus on big action set-pieces that did not suit the story, according to game director Neil Druckmann.
Talking to the Script Apart podcast, Druckmann said: “When I worked on the movie version, a lot of the thinking and notes were like ‘how do we make it bigger? How do we make the set pieces bigger?’”
Druckmann did not point fingers as to who in the studio system provided those notes, but he said that the approach was responsible for the film’s downfall. “It didn’t work for The Last of Us and I think that’s ultimately why the movie wasn’t made,” he said.
As a video game, The Last of Us has plenty of combat due to the way its gameplay structure works. But the story aspect of the game – what is essentially the base for any film or TV adaptation – is more subdued than a Hollywood blockbuster. Thankfully, Druckmann says that moving to a television series has helped capture the team’s original intentions for the game.
“Our approach for The Last of Us was ‘Let’s make it as an indie film’,” Druckmann revealed. “Let’s approach it as an indie film team, the way it’s shot, the way how small and intimate it feels. And with the show we get to lean into that even more because we don’t have to have as many action sequences as we do in the game.”
“In the game, there’s certain mechanics for pacing purposes,” Druckmann added. “You have to engage those mechanics every once in a while, you need enough combat to train those mechanics. And you can throw all that out [for the TV show], because now we’re in a different medium. Let’s play to the strengths of this medium.”
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The Last of Us movie was in development with Screen Gems and Sony back in 2014, with Druckmann writing the script and Sam Raimi attached to produce. But by 2016 the film was experiencing trouble and production ground to a standstill. Had it worked out, though, it was likely that Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams would have played Ellie.
The HBO TV version of The Last of Us replaces the movie, so it will now only be seen on-screen in television format. The show, which covers the plot of the first game, is reportedly set to start filming in July.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer.