After hearing about The Last of Us being developed into a movie, it got me thinking about two specific things. First of all, how are they going to pack 13 hours of content into a (hopefully) 2 hour film and who would be cast? Of course we won’t have an answer to the first question until the film sees the light of day, but I decided to scour the internet for what I’d call my ‘dream cast’ for The Last of Us’ silver screen adaptation. Note that these are my picks and it was truly a difficult time to pick the actors for the key roles so I’ll give an honorable mention to a few along the way.
Joel – Hugh Jackman
I thought long and hard about who would play Joel and please the mass audience as well as fans of the game. While Josh Brolin is an absolutely excellent choice (and Troy Baker said he’d want him as Joel) Hugh Jackman has recently shown that he can tackle a serious role and do it well. If you haven’t seen the 2013 film Prisoners, I can understand why you’d think I’m making a silly choice here. But if you have seen the film, you’ll know that Hugh Jackman is an excellent candidate to play the role of Joel. He’s raw, powerful and unforgiving and the beard completely works. Of course he’d have to don a bit of a new accent but he could manage it without too much work surely. He’s got the right build andhas the right motivations to pull off Joel and that’s why he’s my #1 pick for the lead role.
Honorable Mention: Josh Brolin
Ellie – Hailee Steinfeld
I was close to picking Chloe Grace Moretz for this role, and I’m actually a big fan of her work (Kick-Ass is one of my favorite films of all time) but I just don’t think she could pull of ‘the look’ for Ellie. Hailee Steinfeld, on the other hand, not only looks like Ellie but has enough experience to take the role in the right direction and push Jackman to look into that emotional locker of his. Sure, she’s had some shortcomings with her latest roles in Ender’s Game and Romeo and Juliet but I could see her portraying a deep and emotional Ellie that would translate very well on-screen.
Honorable Mention: Chloe Grace Moretz
Tommy – Brad Pitt
Not only is Brad Pitt a well known actor, but he also has the experience to set the tone of the film from the get go. Tommy isn’t prevalent in the entire story of The Last of Us but those of you who’ve played the game know Tommy is all about survival and family. The first 15 minutes of the game emphasize’s that and when you meet up with him again later on in the game it’s a wonderful reunion for all. Brad Pitt knows how to portray emotion, and his latest role in 12 Years A Slave is a showcase of that and that’s why he’s my #1 choice for Tommy.
Tess – Lena Headey
We’ve seen Lena Headey on both sides of the spectrum when it comes to good and evil. Her role in The Purge showcased her ability as an actress to dive into something a little different, and deviate away from what is no doubt her most notable role in Game of Thrones. She has the drive and motivation to keep pushing herself into new things and diversify her career which is admirable and I believe that she’d be a perfect fit for Tess. She has underlying tones of loss and you can tell, but on the outside she’s a hardened survivor that isn’t to be messed with. In short, Lena would be a perfect fit as Tess.
David – Willem Dafoe
Most definitely the hardest choice came down to choosing the ‘villain’ from The Last Of Us. David is quite clearly mentally ill and is a relentless brute. Willem Dafoe is an excellent actor and has the experience to play someone as complex as David. Also combine that with the fact that he looks similar and you have a great match. Another actor that would have been a great David would have been Ray McKinnon, but Willem Dafoe is just a clear choice for me. He just has that ‘it’ factor that McKinnon lacks.
Honorable Mention: Ray McKinnon
Sarah – Elle Fanning
Now I’m not too familiar with Elle Fanning’s work and by the looks of things she’s quite young which physically fits Sarah’s profile. She has been in some notable films though like Super 8, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Deja Vu but you’d have to take that with a grain of salt because she didn’t play any major character in any of those films. She’d only have around 5 – 10 minutes of screen time which really doesn’t impose much pressure and she has enough experience to pull it off. I was considering her older sister, Dakota, for the role too but I feel like she’s a bit too old to pull it off now so I’ll keep my decision with Elle.
Henry – Harold Perrineu
When you think about an actor who hasn’t aged, I’d be surprised if you didn’t think about Harold Perrineu. Seriously, this guy recently celebrated his 50th birthday and he still looks like he’s 30. Needless to say the role of Henry should be looking at someone within their 20’s – but Perrineu has been excellent in some of his latest roles which included a stint in Sons of Anarchy and a role in the acclaimed smash-hit Zero Dark Thirty. He, combined with the make-up crew, would make an excellent Henry and like Sarah, he wouldn’t have that much screen time. Experience is key in this role specifically as Henry and Sam are important characters in The Last of Us’ tale and that’s why I’m picking Perrineu for the role of Henry.
Sam – Marc John Jeffries
This is another contentious pick but it’s really quite hard to scout out an actor with enough experience to play Sam since he, like Henry, play such important roles in the progression of the story. I did some research and Jayden Smith popped up on a particular list and I couldn’t condemn myself to throwing him on this one, as much as I love his father, Will Smith’s work. Marc John Jeffries is in his 20’s now but he still has the face of a 15 year old. He’s done some work in well-known movies such as Monsters, Inc. and Spider-man 2 which bodes well for what the role of Sam would require from him. This section of the story is emotional and heart-breaking and I believe both Harold Perrineu and Marc John Jeffries would make an excellent duo to bring on the emotion when the time is nigh.
Bill – Duane Whitaker
Bill is an interesting character and that’s putting it mildly. He has layers of complex emotion lying under that odd jacket of his and we only touch the surface of his character in The Last Of Us’ story. He’s a major catalyst in the way The Last Of Us pushes the story of Ellie and Joel’s bond forward and exploring the town before coming into contact with Bill was an experience I won’t forget. We begin to see his survival instincts before we even meet him and that speaks volumes of his character. Duane Whitaker, while only really known for a small role in Pulp Fiction, would be a great choice because he looks like Bill and that’s all he needs to do. I can imagine that the movie is going to give a small pinch (if any) of screen time to Bill’s section of the story and just for the sake of experience and looks I’d go with Whitaker.
Marlene – Kerry Washington
One of those characters that you kind-of like but you don’t at the same time – Marlene is a driven and determined woman that would do anything to stop the horror the apocalypse has presented – even if that means killing someone so dear to you (which is the humane thing to do when thousands of lives are at stake). Kerry Washington has a lot of experience on screen and that would lend wonderfully to the role Marlene presents. She’s been in serious films (Ray, The Last King of Scotland) and comedic/action-oriented films (Django Unchained, Mr and Mrs Smith) and combining the two (albeit without the comedy) would make her the #1 pick for the role. She also can pull off the grit that Marlene possesses and she’d play a pivotal role in the success of the movie overall, specifically when it comes to her last scene, as it’s so important in Joel’s character development.
So there you have it – who I’d love to see pulled into The Last Of Us’ movie adaptation. Yes, I did leave out a couple of roles that come up throughout the game but I don’t believe they have that much of a part to play in the overall development of the story, hence why I’ve left them out. I’m very nervous about this adaptation and I can only hope that the casting goes well and we at least see a couple of roles filled with great actors. The Last Of Us deserves an excellent movie, but only time will tell how (or if) it will make its way to the silver screen.