Actor Troy Baker provided the voice and motion-capture performance for the character Joel in the video game The Last of Us – and while he has handed that role over to Pedro Pascal for the upcoming HBO TV series adaptation of the game (which is set to premiere on January 15th, kicking off with a pilot episode that is expected to have a running time of 85 minutes), Baker will be appearing on the show. He has been cast as James, “a senior member of a group of settlers who must fight to keep their community alive in the face of increasingly brutal odds.” And that’s not his only involvement with it. It has been announced that Baker will also be hosting the official companion podcast, where he will sit down with series creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann for “a scene-by-scene deep dive of each episode.” Which sounds like a good time for The Last of Us fans!
The story of the The Last of Us video game is set years after a fungal plague wiped out much of humanity, transforming most into vicious zombie-like monsters, the story follows Joel, who’s living in a militarized quarantine zone. He has a close relationship with Tess, who operates in the black market of this community. Together, they’ve become known by the local criminal underworld for their ruthlessness. On a mission to reclaim their stolen guns, they run into the leader of the Fireflies, a resistance group, who tasks them with smuggling a young girl named Ellie out of the zone. This mission soon becomes much more than they were prepared for.
Pascal plays Joel, who is “tormented by past trauma and failure. He must trek across a pandemic-ravaged America, all the while protecting a girl who represents the last hope of humanity”. He is joined in the cast by Bella Ramsey as Ellie, “a 14-year-old orphan who has never known anything but a ravaged planet and who struggles to balance her instinct for anger and defiance with her need for connection and belonging… as well as the newfound reality that she may be the key to saving the world”; Anna Torv as Tess, “a smuggler and hardened survivor in a post-pandemic world”; Gabriel Luna as Joel’s brother Tommy, “a former soldier who hasn’t lost his sense of idealism and hope for a better world”; Merle Dandridge as Marlene, “the head of the Fireflies, a resistance movement struggling for freedom against an oppressive military regime”; Nico Parker as Joel’s daughter Sarah; Jeffrey Pierce as Perry, “a rebel in a quarantine zone”; Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett as Bill and Frank, “two post-pandemic survivalists living alone in their own isolated town”; and Storm Reid as Ellie’s best friend Riley.
Ashley Johnson, who did the motion-capture performance for Ellie in the video game, is also in the cast of the show. Her character is Anna, “a pregnant woman, alone and on the run, who must give birth under the most terrifying of circumstances.”
Mazin and Druckmann are directors on the series, as are Kantemir Balagov (Beanpole), Jasmila Zbanic (Quo vadis, Aida), Peter Hoar (Doctor Who), Jeremy Webb (The Punisher), and Liza Johnson (What We Do in the Shadows).
The Last of Us is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television, PlayStation Productions, Word Games, The Mighty Mint, and game developer Naughty Dog. Druckmann serves as executive producer alongside Carolyn Strauss, Naughty Dog’s Evan Wells, Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan of PlayStation Productions, and Mazin.
Are you looking forward to The Last of Us, and will you be listening to the companion podcast? Let us know by leaving a comment below.