UPDATE: THR has reported that while Ali was circling the role, he has since passed.
Fans are eagerly awaiting the upcoming HBO adaptation of acclaimed video game, The Last Of Us. The Last Of Us has won countless awards and is considered one of the greatest video games of all time. Neil Druckman, the franchise creator as well as original creative director and writer of The Last Of Us game, will be working as a writer and executive producer on the upcoming HBO series along with Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin. Carolyn Strauss (Game of Thrones, Chernobyl) will also serve as an executive producer on the series.
The Last Of Us series is a co-production with Sony Picture Television, PlayStation Productions, Word Games, and franchise creator Naughty Dog. Russian filmmaker Kantemir Balagov will be directing the pilot of The Last Of Us adaption. The series looks like it will follow the game’s storyline fairly closely which makes sense given the praise it earned for storytelling.
THE LAST OF US OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
“The story takes place twenty years after modern civilization has been destroyed. Joel, a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal, heartbreaking journey, as they both must traverse across the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.”
MAHERSHALA ALI OFFERED THE LEAD ROLE OF JOEL IN THE LAST OF US
It looks like the production has found their pick for the lead role. The Illuminerdi can exclusively reveal that Mahershala Ali has been offered the role of Joel, which will be an interesting departure from the traditional look of the video game. That being said, Ali definitely has the range as an actor to play the character and could be a fantastic choice to build the franchise around. At this point, the role is Ali’s for the taking if he decides to sign his offered contract.
Joel is described as a ferocious survivor with few moral lines that he has yet to cross. Joel is in his late 40s having lost everything and everyone he loves and has become desensitized and hardhearted by the devastation of the pandemic that destroyed civilization. Joel lives in one of the few remaining military controlled quarantine zones, he is a smuggler of contraband in the black market. Joel has taken a number of brutal and humiliating jobs in order to survive the harsh post-pandemic environment. Joel’s sense of morality has faded away due to his need to push down his emotions in order to survive.
Mahershala Ali has won numerous awards for his many roles and has played many different types of characters. He is known for playing Remy Danton on House of Cards, Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes on Luke Cage, and Wayne Hays on True Detective. He will be starring as Blade in Marvel’s upcoming Blade film. It also should be noted that the role of Joel was first offered to Matthew McConaughey, who turned down the project. That being said, Ali could ultimately end up being a more interesting choice for the role. If Ali takes the role of Joel he would be a key factor in two major franchises, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and HBO’s The Last Of Us.
The relationship between Joel and Ellie is central to the story of The Last Of Us. Casting Joel will be an extremely important part of making the series a successful video game adaptation. The Last of Us is an excellent choice of video game to adapt into a television series given the game’s acclaim and praise for the narrative and characterization. The Last Of Us is one of the best-selling PS3 games and The Last Of Us Remastered is one of the best-selling PS4 games with the game having sold over 17 million copies.
Due to its success, The Last Of Us has grown into a franchise that not only includes the upcoming HBO series, but a comic book miniseries, The Last Of Us: American Dreams, and a sequel game The Last Of Us Part II.
Are you excited about the upcoming HBO adaptation of The Last Of Us? Do you think Mahershala Ali would make a good Joel? Who do you hope is cast as Ellie? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media.