Announced as being in development back in March, the feature film based on the hit video game The Last of Us is still chugging along and Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann, who not only wrote the game but is penning the screenplay, has provided an update on the film’s progress.
In two hours you can’t tell the same kind of story that you can in a game like The Last of Us, which is 15 hours, Druckman told MCV (Via Flickering Myth): I’m in the middle of it now, and it’s been super difficult because there’s so much that happens in The Last of Us even just in the cinematics that can’t fit in a film, let alone all the gameplay in-between and dialogue.
Druckmann continued, speaking about the focus of the game and how that will translate to the big screen, noting that though some elements from the game will remain some will be altered.
It almost has this novel quality as far as how much content there is, and a film works really well when it’s laser-focused, so the first part of it was like: ‘Well, what is this story really about? It’s clearly about Joel and Ellie. What are the most important beats that we can’t lose? Start with those, and cut everything else out.’ It’s been really difficult to cut certain things out, but what I’m starting to get this is really focused narrative that’s about these two characters. Some parts will be similar to the game and some parts will be quite different, but it’s kind of interesting in helping me understand this other medium and its strengths compared to video games.
Druckmann will co-produce the film along with Naughty Dog Co-Presidents’ Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra, Game Director Bruce Straley, and Sam Raimi via their Ghost House Pictures banner. It was revealed at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con that Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams had been approached to take on the role of Ellie in the game, though no casting has been confirmed at this point.
The Last of Us follows hardened survivor Joel and Ellie, a young and capable girl, on their journey through a radically transformed world. Set twenty years after an infectious pandemic spread by the cordyceps virus ravaged the course of humanity, these two people, who were brought together by chance, must make life-altering decisions in order to survive. The Last of Us explores themes of survival, loyalty, love, and redemption in an emotionally charged expedition across a post-epidemic United States.
In the meantime, check out the teaser poster below: