In 2014, Screen Gems announced development on a movie adaptation of the immensely popular video game The Last of Us. Later that year, director-screenwriter Neil Druckmann got up in front of a crowd at San Diego Comic-Con and said there was significant progress being made, while offering new details. Two years later, production still isn’t underway and that’s because of alleged creative differences with Sony.
During an interview with IGN, Sam Raimi, who’s on board as a producer on The Last of Us, confirmed the film is at a standstill.
When we went to Neil with Ghost House Pictures, we were hoping to get the rights like we do any project and then we’d take it out and sell it, but we’d control the rights. With this one, he went to Sony — who I have a very good relationship with — but they have their own plans for it. And I think Neil’s plan for it — I’m not trying to be political — Neil’s plan for it is not the same as Sony’s. And because my company doesn’t have the rights, I actually can’t help him too much. Even though I’m one of the producers on it the way he set it up, he sold his rights to Sony, Sony hired me as a producer by chance, and I can’t get the rights free for him so I’m not in the driver’s seat and I can’t tell you what Sony and Neil together will decide on. If they do move forward, I’d love to help them again.
Creative differences is the true “tale as old as time” in Hollywood. Just look at recent examples, like Edgar Wright with Ant-Man and Cary Fukunaga with the It remake. Still, Raimi says he’s technically attached, but “right now it’s just sitting there.”
They don’t want to move forward, and it’s not my place to say why, and Neil, I think, is in a slight disagreement with them about how things should go. So, there’s a standstill, and I don’t have the power to move it.
Back when the film was first announced, there were reports of Maisie Williams being eyed for the role of Ellie, the young girl at the heart of the game. But who knows if that’s still in the air. Williams has her Game of Thrones duties, and with season 8 being the last of the series, she’ll have to start making moves to land other projects.
Here’s the official synopsis for the game:
Joel, a ruthless survivor with few moral lines left to cross, lives in one of the last remaining Quarantine Zones. These walled-off, oppressive cities are run by what’s left of the military. Despite the strict martial law, Joel operates in the black market of the city, smuggling contraband for the right price. Joel is asked by a dying friend to look after Ellie, a fourteen-year-old girl with courage beyond her years. What starts out as a simple job to deliver Ellie to another Quarantine Zone, soon transforms into a profound journey that will forever change Joel and Ellie. As they trek across a post-pandemic United States, Joel and Ellie will encounter different factions of survivors that have each found a unique way of dealing with the infected humans, the lack of supplies, and the threat of other survivors. As Joel and Ellie struggle to persevere, they must learn to trust each other and work together in order to survive the realities of this new world.