Cast This: Joel and Ellie of The Last of Us
It was over two years ago when it was announced that Sam Raimi would be producing the movie adaptation of Naughty Dog’s critically-acclaimed action-adventure survival horror video game, The Last Of Us. Since then, we haven’t heard much about the project except that it’s not moving very fast. Regardless, we can certainly do the work for them when it comes to casting the two main leads: Joel – a ruthless survivor of a fungal spore-based infection that turns humans into zombie-like crazies and Ellie – a tough yet occasionally delicate 14-year-old filled with intelligence and world-weariness.
The story follows Joel, a single father who must travel across a post-apocalyptic America in 2033 to protect a teenage girl named Ellie. He must deliver her to a resistance group called the Fireflies, who believe she may be vital to curing the infection that has destroyed the planet. It’s certainly one of the best games I’ve ever played and is already considered a masterpiece by most of the gaming world. If you have played the game you know it manages to do something very few games can do and that’s combine a strong emotional narrative with suspenseful and frantic gameplay. Joel and Ellie struck a chord of empathy with gamers due to their human qualities and relationship; the actors for the leads would need to be people we can and will care about by the time the credits role.
Casting Joel and Ellie will make or break the film. So who could undertake these demanding roles? Let’s take a look at Ellie first. The perfect actress for the part would have to look around 14-16 and have an emotional range of someone who’s been through hell and returned with curiosity, strength, and a lot of wit. We heard at one point that Game Of Thrones star Maisie Williams would most likely take on the role of Ellie; Williams confirmed that she talked about the movie executives and that she is just waiting for an offer. The announcement of that casting choice had people at Comic-Con cheering pretty loud. I think Williams would be a great choice; she has the look and based on what we’ve seen on GoT, she’s got the attitude and range to pull it off.
If age wasn't an issue, I think most players would agree that Ellen Page came to mind while playing The Last of Us. The likeness is uncanny right down to the voice; I’m sure that’s not a coincidence. My next pick however would be Elle Fanning who with her own reserved style brings a lot to the table for a character like Ellie. She’s proven she can do emotional and action packed scenes; she’s grown up and would deliver on the complexity of Ellie’s character, I’m sure of it.
Then we have my final pick, Kaitlyn Dever. Not a big star or household name by any means but as a young up and coming actress, she’s been impressive to watch. With works like SHORT TERM 12 on her resume, she’s proven she’s more than just a sitcom face. Other actresses I’ve heard mentioned for the role include Hailee Steinfeld, Chloe Grace Moretz and Ariel Winter. I can’t imagine them casting a huge name to this role but we will have to wait and see what the studio decides to do with the material.
As for the role of Joel, past casting rumors have pointed to names like Dylan McDermott, Gerard Butler and Chris Pratt. For me, I’m all about Josh Brolin for this one. He’s got the look and the talent to pull it off. He might just have to come off as more vulnerable than he has been in the last decade or so. Look no further than NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN to see what Brolin can offer fans.
Next up would be Hugh Jackman; his ability to go mild-mannered to intense is always a pleasure to watch. He can be intense, and the character of Joel has that going for him. My last choice is a bit older than most might appreciate for the role, but Viggo Mortensen should be in everything shouldn’t he? THE ROAD, much like the game, follows a man with a young child through a post-apocalyptic world and Mortensen played it perfectly. There’s always been a quiet sadness to the actor that would be more than welcome for this role, let’s not give up on this idea just yet.
Fans of the game will be more than a little excited to see what the movie has to offer, but for now, who do you think could fill the shoes of Joel and Ellie?
|Extra Tidbit:||Movies that influenced the game are said to include The Road and No Country For Old Men.|