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Pedro Pascal is playing Joel Miller in HBO's The Last Of Us, and the reception to the announcement was an outpouring of excitement and positivity. While the show itself is still a ways away, fans have taken it upon themselves to imagine the actor as the iconic character, and this fantastic artwork caught the eye of the series creator, Neil Druckmann.
Andrea C. White uploaded her piece to The Last Of Us subreddit, after attempting an "interesting experiment" to combine the faces of the Chilean-American actor and the grizzled Texan. The adaptation, which had stagnated in development hell for almost five years, was originally intended to be a feature-length film with Evil Dead creator Sam Raimi on board to produce. There was even a read-through with a handful of actors, but because Druckmann and Sony had disagreed on the direction of the project, these contenders for some of the most popular characters in gaming were eventually let go. In March 2020, the TV show was revealed by HBO, and once again, it was in the very early stages of its progression. However, the time that had elapsed allowed the TV show to integrate events of The Last Of Us and The Last Of Us Part II. So, in short, there's a possibility that we'll see Abby appear in the show, albeit as a teenager like Ellie.
Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin is collaborating with Neil Druckmann to write the eight episodes, and the two of them are as pleased as punch to get this gig off of the ground, finally. "From the first time I sat down to talk with Craig I was equally blown away by his approach to narrative and his love and deep understanding of The Last of Us," said Druckmann at the time. "With Chernobyl, Craig and HBO created a tense, harrowing, emotional masterpiece. I couldn't think of better partners to bring the story of The Last of Us to life as a television show." I didn't consider the possibility of Pedro Pascal playing Joel, because I thought he'd be booked up until the next decade with his role in The Mandalorian. But, with this painting and the other fan artworks that are dotted about the internet, it's evident that it just works.
"Damn... our fans don't waste time. Well done!" exclaimed Druckmann on Twitter. It's one thing to enjoy the praise for your work from fellow fans, and it's another thing entirely to know that it's impressed the creator of that very thing that you adore. White's work to blend the two faces together is brilliant: Joel's floppy, salt and pepper hair frames Pascal's features, and the purposeful brushstrokes create this clear ruggedness and tiredness that only come from years and years of scraping by in an unforgiving world. Our first proper look at Joel won't arrive for some time, but if this is the standard that we get to see from fans, then I'm very content to wait. Please paint Bella Ramsey as Ellie next!