Sam Raimi's The Last of Us movie will focus on Joel and Ellie's story
The Last of Us game director Neil Druckmann is currently working on the script for the Sam Raimi produced feature film adaptation, and in an interview with MCV, Druckmann says it hasn't been an easy task. Although he's had to cut a few things and it won't be exactly like the video game, Druckmann says he is really focusing on Joel and Ellie's relationship from the game for the movie.
In two hours you can't tell the same kind of story that you can in a game like The Last of Us, which is 15 hours...I'm in the middle of it now, and it's been super difficult because there's so much that happens in The Last of Us – even just in the cinematics – that can't fit in a film, let alone all the gameplay in-between and dialogue.
It almost has this novel quality as far as how much content there is. And a film works really well when it's laser-focused, so the first part of it was like: well, what is this story really about? It's clearly about Joel and Ellie. What are the most important beats that we can't lose? Start with those, and cut everything else out.
It's been really difficult to cut certain things out, but what I'm starting to get this is really focused narrative that's about these two characters. Some parts will be similar to the game and some parts will be quite different, but it's kind of interesting in helping me understand this other medium and its strengths compared to video games.
Some believe the narratives in video games aren't as strong as those in books and movies, but Neil Druckmann thinks they are just as good, if not better. Druckmann also shared his thoughts on how playing a video game is a different experience compared to reading a novel or watching a film.
I think it's just our perception. In many ways games surpass those other mediums...Fatal Frame 2 is the scariest kind of experience in any medium; I haven't seen a movie that comes close to the fear I feel when I play that game. Ico has me connecting to another character in a way that no book ever has. Likewise, a lot of games can make you feel guilt, make you take actions that you don't necessarily want to take, but you have to in order to proceed, and that's something a film can never do.
Different mediums have different strengths, and games just have this bad perception that they're slowly overcoming. One of the kind of things I'm trying to do is promote the idea that games are this compelling narrative form, just as strong as any of these other mediums.
Glad to see THE LAST OF US won't just be set in the video game's universe, since one of the things many people loved about the game was Joel and Ellie's relationship. I've never played The Last of Us, but I've watched one of my friends play it a bunch, and I think if done right, it could be a fantastic film.
Sam Raimi has met with Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams for the lead role in THE LAST OF US, and I'm hoping she does end up officially joining the project. As to who will be playing Joel, apparently Neil Druckmann (who according to sources, has complete creative control over the film) and the producers are interested in actors like Hugh Jackman and Josh Brolin. Who would you like to see play Joel in THE LAST OF US?