HBO’s hotly-anticipated video game adaptation The Last of Us has been announced to be starting production this coming July in Calgary, as per the Director’s Guild of Canada (via CBC). It’s going to be a long shoot, too. Cameras are set to start rolling on July 5 of this year and are scheduled to wrap almost a year later on June 8, 2022. That’s a lengthy schedule for an episodic TV series and just goes to show that HBO is pulling out all of the stops to ensure that The Last of Us will be appointment viewing when it eventually premieres —which might not be until mid-2023 based on that filming schedule.
Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin, who’s becoming something of a go-to guy for the video game genre (he’s penned the screenplay for Eli Roth’s star-studded Borderlands), is set to write and executive produce alongside Neil Druckmann, who directed the console favorite. The pilot will be helmed by Beanpole director Kantemir Balagov, who replaced Chernobyl’s Johan Renck behind the camera. Pedro Pascal has signed on to play Joel and fellow Game of Thrones alum Bella Ramsey on board as Ellie.
The Last of Us takes place in a post-apocalyptic world 20 years after civilization as we know it has ceased to exist. By all accounts, the series isn’t going to deviate too far from the source material, with Druckmann already confirming that some dialogue from the game will be lifted verbatim. The story follows Pascal’s hardened survivor Joel, who is hired to smuggle his 14-year-old charge, Ellie, out of an oppressive quarantine zone, leading them on a journey across the United States where they’re forced to depend on each other for survival.
Per the CBC‘s report, Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney said he believes The Last of Us will be the largest film or television production in Canadian history, and the project comes armed with big expectations and a huge built-in fanbase. The first game sold close to 20 million copies and is regarded by many as one of the greatest video games ever made, while last year’s sequel shifted over four million copies in its first weekend of release and holds the record for most Games of the Year awards won.
Pascal signed a “first position” deal when he joined The Last of Us, meaning that it’s taken precedence over his other commitments, the most notable of which is The Mandalorian’s third season. Now that shooting has been locked in for July, it stands to reason that he’ll have all of his scenes in the can as Din Djarin for the Disney+ Star Wars series before then, with Joel set to be his number one priority for the following 11 months.