Chernobyl’s Johan Renck to direct pilot of HBO’s The Last of Us series
Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Johan Renck has officially set his next collaboration with Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin for HBO’s forthcoming The Last of Us series. Speaking with Discussing Film, Renck has confirmed that he has already signed on as an executive producer on the highly-anticipated live-action series adaptation and is also attached to helm the pilot episode.
“I’m an executive producer on it and attached to it,” He revealed. “It’s an ongoing TV series. So that’s not something that I will be able to take on to that extent, but I’m part of that series and I will be directing at least the pilot. Then we’ll see how it goes on further. I mean, both Craig and I, we are working with each other again and we will work with each other on other things because we like each other.”
When asked about the differences of adapting pre-existing characters from historical characters, he answered, “You have for instance The Last of Us with Craig, in which you have a video game character who’s very much top of mind with anybody who’s ever played that game. More than that, they know exactly what he looks like, how he talks, how he acts, and so on and so forth.”
Renck continued, “So with the The Last of Us, this is something that we’re discussing. We’re having weekly calls, Craig and I and also Neil [Druckmann] who created the game, about various approaches and how to deal with that. How to deal with the fact that a video game character is way further than a character from a book. But also it’s more different to deal with than a real person.”
The Last of Us is an action-adventure survival horror video game that is played from a third-person perspective. It was developed by the Santa Monica-based video game developer Naughty Dog, who is also best known for creating the Uncharted games. It was first launched in 2013 for PlayStation 3 and in 2014 for PlayStation 4 where it immediately garnered critical acclaim for its narrative, gameplay, visuals, sound design, and characters.
The game 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 the post-epidemic United States.
Due to its immense popularity, The Last of Us has sold over 17 million copies and had successfully won numerous awards including multiple Game of the Year awards. Nearly 7 years since its launch, the video game is currently being recognized as one of the greatest video games ever made.
The Last of Us series adaptation will be tackling the events of the first game with the possibility of additional content based on the upcoming video game sequel. It will be co-written by Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, who is the game’s writer and creative director. Mazin will executive produce along with Carolyn Strauss and Naughty Dog president Evan Wells. The project is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television in association with PlayStation Productions.