THE LAST OF US Comic-Con Panel Recap; Maisie Williams Being Eyed to Play Ellie

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Earlier this year, we reported that Screen Gems and Sam Raimi were set to produce a feature film adaptation of the acclaimed and best-selling game, The Last of Us.  Today at Comic-Con, the schedule had a “Sneak Peek” listed, and the peek was more details on this highly anticipated adaptation.  It was an exciting opportunity to tell fans that there was legitimate progress on this movie, and also for Raimi and the game’s creative director/screenwriter Neil Druckmann to gauge the audience’s reaction, especially on a piece of possible casting.

Hit the jump for my The Last of Us Comic-Con panel recap.

We were first shown the trailer for The Last of Us: Remastered:

Which was followed by the text, “Soon to be a Major Motion Picture”.  Then the lights came up, and Druckmann and Raimi took the stage.

Panel Highlights:

  • Druckmann says several studios approached him and developer Naughty Dog, and their initial reaction was to say no.  But they agreed to take a meeting with Raimi, and talk about the property, and then spoke with Screen Gems.  And Druckmann and his team at Naughty Dog agreed to work with Screem Gems because the studio says Druckmann and Naughty Dog can write the screenplay and have final say on the cut, director, and casting.
  • “I think its’ going to be a great character journey, a great love story, and a great horror picture,” says Raimi, and that’s why they’re announcing it here so early in the film’s development.
  • the-last-of-us-comic-con-panelRaimi says it’s unique that the game’s writer, Druckmann, will also write the film screenplay.
  • Druckmann provided an outline of what he thought he had to cut down from a 15-hour game to a 2-hour movie, including a different ending.  But during a conversation with Raimi, Druckmann decided that it didn’t need to be drastically different; it just has to retain the emotional core.  “And in some ways it’s getting more laser-focused on the relationship between Joel and Ellie,” says Druckmann.
  • The elements of the “Left Behind” DLC could be pulled into the story, “but I don’t want to say more than that,” says Druckmann.
  • They said they recently met with Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) to play Ellie, but nothing is official.
  • When it comes to putting in Bruce Campbell, Raimi says he will see if Druckmann and the director have a part for the fan-favorite actor.
  • Raimi says their job is to recognize the strengths of the game, and how to edit it down to turn a great video game into a great movie.
  • Druckmann is excited to bring in the truck ambush, but he’s also eager to give it a different flow when it comes to connecting set pieces.

Q&A

last-of-us-comic-con-panel-recapDruckmann says we’ll see something soon regarding Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 4, and they’re going to be doing something new with the storytelling.

Will there be a part for Ted Raimi?  “I hope so,” says Raimi, but he reminds us that he’s not directing, and that’s really left to the director and Druckmann.  “I’m sure there’s a spot,” says Druckman.  “There are a lot of infected and clickers for cameos.”

Raimi says he got involved because he’s a big gamer, and when he got clued in to The Last of Us, he thought it would just be a scary horror game, but he was “blown away” by the emotional story and characters.  Raimi felt that he not only wanted to adapt it, but also “protect it.”

Druckmann says he can’t say whom he’d like to see cast as Nathan Drake in the Uncharted movie, but that’s because he’s already hearing some things about it.

They feel that there still hasn’t been a truly great film adaptation of a video game, and they feel that they have that opportunity by using The Last of Us as the source material.

Raimi says he didn’t have one favorite scene, but if he had to choose, he loved that when the world is falling apart in the beginning and you don’t know what’s happening, he loved the feeling of terrified confusion.  “Delving into the unknown,” is the best part of the horror, says Raimi.  But the emotional connection between Joel and Ellie also attracted him to the project.

Raimi was clearly jazzed about the prospect of this movie, and his enthusiasm was (no pun intended) infectious.  The Last of Us is on my to-play list because I’ve heard almost nothing but good things about the game, especially when it comes to the story.  But when it comes to the movie, I agree that we’re still waiting for the first great film based on a video game.  Having the video game’s writer pen the screenplay may be the key to solving the problem.

Click here for more Comic-Con coverage.

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