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As I'm sure you've probably heard by now, Naughty Dog and HBO are collaborating on a new TV series based on The Last Of Us. It's early days for the project, but we do know that the series will cover the events of the original 2013 game. Naturally then, we can expect to see the likes of Joel, Ellie, Tess, Marlene, and Tommy.
If you're a fan of Naughty Dog's PlayStation classic, I don't doubt that you've already started assembling a dream cast in your head. After all, these are some of the most complicated and well-realised characters in gaming, played to absolute perfection by the actors Naughty Dog originally chose. Anyone who steps into these roles for the HBO show will have some massive shoes to fill, then... but we've got a few ideas of our own.
I've seen a few really good picks being thrown around for Joel, but it has to be Hugh Jackman doesn't it? We already know that the former Wolverine is more than capable of playing a weary, grizzled survivor. I mean, he was basically Joel in Logan... a man haunted by his past? A man capable of acts of extreme violence? A man who suddenly finds himself responsible for transporting a young girl across a post-apocalyptic America? Come on HBO, make this happen.
Kaitlyn Dever, who starred in Olivia Wilde's outstanding directorial debut Booksmart and last year's brilliant Netflix Drama Unbelievable is a perfect fit for Ellie. With just the right blend of dark humour, vunerability, and genuine edge, Dever would be fantastic as a kid who has no concept of life before the world went to crap.
There's been a lot of love for the idea of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Joel, but I'm team Jackman all the way as far as that particular bit of casting is concerned. With that said, Coster-Waldau is a phenomenal actor, and I'd love to see him take on the role of Joel's brother Tommy. I mean, the thought of Jackman and Coster-Waldau together? Double bubble.
Marlene might not actually feature that heavily in The Last Of Us, but her role in the story is undeniably important. I'd hope that the HBO series fleshes out her and the Fireflies a little more, and if that happens I can think of nobody better than Zoe Saldana to take on the role.
Authoritative, tough, but quite clearly exhausted from fighting for a dying world, I would love to see Saldana as Marlene crossing the country with her few remaining soldiers at the same time Joel and Ellie are having their own gritty adventures.
I don't know if this is cheating, but my top pick for Joel's smuggling partner Tess would have to be Annie Wersching. Why would that be cheating? Because Wersching played the part of Tess in the game itself... but what a performance. I don't know how long it's been since you've played The Last Of Us, but go back and pay attention to Wersching's immaculate performance in the earlier parts of game. She nails that character, and I can't see anyone else doing it.
Okay, I'm cheating... again. The always-impressive Brandon Scott played the heartbreaking Henry in the game, but his brief appearance was so impactful that I just can't see anyone else in the role. It also helps that Scott has proven himself to be an outstanding performer in numerous TV shows and movies since The Last Of Us, including 13 Reasons Why and Dead To Me.
Oh Sam. Poor Sam. If you've played the game, you'll know that Sam isn't around too long. As such, we'd need a seriously impressive young actor that can really hook you in... all so their ultimate fate feels that much more devastating when it comes around.
To that end, I suggest Madison Curry, who you might remember from Us. An engaging presence for such a young'un, Curry has proven that she can act her heart out in the middle of some seriously intense moments - a valuable skill, and a must for this part. I know what you're all thinking, of course: She's a lot younger than "game" Sam. Don't worry though, I reckon that'll work to the character's advantage.
David Tennant might still be best known to the world as the Tenth Doctor, but the man has proven he's more than capable of switching from charming to truly horrific monster in the blink of an eye. If you've watched Netflix's Jessica Jones, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.
In The Last Of Us, David is this truly awful killer who's done some unspeakable things... yet we can, in some awful way, almost empathise with him. It's a complex role, but Tennant would be a fine fit for the job.
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