You can’t make everyone happy

Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in The Last of Us.  (photo: courtesy of HBO)

Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as Joel and Ellie in the HBO adaptation The last of us. (photo: courtesy of HBO)

The game has started. when The last of us Premiering on HBO and HBO Max on January 15, fans of the blockbuster PlayStation title will be treated to one of the most faithful screen adaptations of a video game to date. And while the nine-episode first season mostly sticks to the first half of the original 2013 game, the series actually incorporates elements of the 2020 sequel. The last of us And The Last of Us, Part Twogame creator Neil Druckmann has made a conscious effort to diversify a post-apocalyptic Earth, where a pandemic has killed off much of the world’s population and turned many survivors into mindless zombies.

But the show doesn’t wait until future seasons to think about what the world is like now. At the series premiere, showrunner Craig Mazin — who developed the series with Druckmann — filled in. The last of us With the kind of diverse cast the game later embraced. And it begins with the show’s leading man, Pedro Pascal, also traversing George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away in The Mandalorian. The Chilean actor plays Joel, the haunted hero who serves as the player’s primary avatar in the first game, and is portrayed as a white-faced character in his original incarnation.

While the majority of fans embraced Pascal, a toxic slice of We delay Players – many of them also criticized The Last of Us, Part Two Due to her “wake up policy” and emphasis on diversity – she has posted derogatory comments on her Reddit threads and social media. These same critics took aim In some of the other display options in the showincluding having biracial actress Nico Parker as Joel’s daughter Sarah, who was also white in the game.

When asked how he would respond to toxic critics who might complain, “It’s not me We delayPascal provides an easy and straightforward answer. Sorry,” the actor told Yahoo Entertainment with a casual shrug, making it clear he wasn’t completely sorry. You can’t make everyone happy. “

Watch our interview with The last of us Stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey on YouTube:

“The game is very innovative in terms of its inclusiveness,” Pascal adds. “So it’s really a way of honoring the original source material, the way Craig and Neil have gone about telling and telling this story.”

Pascal We delay Co-star Bella Ramsey was also on the receiving end of backlash ahead of the premiere, with alleged fans He complains about her suspicions to Ellie, a teenage girl who reluctantly joins Joel on a perilous cross-country trek toward an uncertain destination. In Toy Story released between The last of us And The Last of Us, Part Twoit is revealed that Ellie was in love with her best friend, Riley (played by Storm Reid in the series), another element of her story that Mazen introduces up front.

“It’s not a spoiler — Ellie is a lesbian,” confirms Mazin. “That’s just the way it is. We benefited when we put on a bid for something Neil didn’t have when he pitched the game. We have it all.”

Maintaining this part of Ellie’s identity was essential for Ramsay, who knows fans were initially concerned about whether he’d be left out of the series. “This was not the case,” says the first game of thrones star, adding, “I wouldn’t have let that happen either. It’s part of who she is and what I love about the show is that it’s not included in this huge deal. She’s out there and loves women…and Joel is great with her. I think it’s done really well.” .”

In the show’s universe, Ellie goes by her pronouns and off-screen Ramsay is comfortable using her/her and them/them. When asked if their version of Ellie could see a similar development as the series goes on, Ramsey explains why this is unlikely. “The thing about pronouns for me is that I kind of don’t mind anything,” they say. They’re cool, once in a while. The thing with Ellie is that she’s not quite that feminine. It just exists, and that’s kind of how I feel. I just exist indefinitely and indefinitely as a person. And I think that’s the cool thing about Elle. You won’t see a shift: it’s kind of there and that’s what I hope I do too.”

As the person who initiated the push to diversify the world The last of usDruckmann says he was inspired by his own experience as an Israeli-born immigrant now living and working in the United States. “I saw this story as a love letter to the United States, especially the landscape,” he says. “America has its issues, but its greatest strength is that it’s a melting pot of all kinds of people from all walks of life. It was important for the show to capture that.”

“Sometimes, I think fans can be misleading,” Druckmann continues, referring to the more toxic elements of the game’s fandom. “They cling to superficial things and think that if those things change, then somehow we’ve screwed up. But I’d like to ask them: When did you first play the game and [you met] Sarah, was her relationship with Joel [that affected you] Or does she have blonde hair? What is important versus what is not? For me, the most important thing was capturing the essence of those characters when we chose them.”

In the case of Joel in particular, Mazin says the production was specifically looking for an actor who would capture “the weight of his years.” As players control the PlayStation version of Joel, this can trick them into believing he’s superhuman due to his ability to fight off infected monsters and heal within seconds with his hand-made medical kits. In contrast, Pascal’s Joel is established as an ordinary person who has spent years in extraordinary circumstances, and time has taken its toll.

“We said to Pedro, we want you to play at your age,” says Mazin. “Joel is actually older than Pedro in real life, and we wanted him to have bad knees, run with a little hitch and have trouble standing and sitting. And when he has a wound, that wound isn’t gone: he continues in the next episode. That humanity was important.” For us. “

Pedro Pascal in The Last of Us.  (photo: courtesy of HBO)

Pascal as Joel in a scene from The last of us. (photo: courtesy of HBO)

It wasn’t hard to play the non-superhero version of Joel, Pascal says. “I’m not really able to survive the end of the world,” he says with a laugh. “I had to bring my mediocrity into an imaginatively likable character. Hope it works!”

Here’s an example of just how good the world-weary actor’s portrayal work can be: Ramsay says they freaked out whenever they had to spoil Joel’s chops as the always bumbling Ellie. “I love how arrogant she is, [but] I actually found it very difficult to be so arrogant with you,” they confessed to Pascal, before adding with an excellent grunt: “You’re fine.”

Pascal replies with a smile: “Bella is one of the nicest people I have ever met.” “It’s so great to know there’s an Ellie in you. He’s out there!”

The last of us Premieres Sunday, January 15th on HBO and HBO Max.

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