This article contains spoilers for The Last of Us
The Last of Us is an HBO series based on a video game released in 2013 and was exclusively available on PS3 and PS4. Upon the release of the adaptation, the show has shown remarkable results as in the first two days, it almost reached 15 million viewers.
The show starts with the beginning of the outbreak of a type of fungi 20 years from the current timeline, not just any fungi but a Cordyceps fungus that affects any living being they come in contact with. The fungus can take control of one’s body, keeping it alive for multiple decades while also eating away at it.
HBO Adaptation Changed the Spores to Tendrils
HBO’s The Last of Us creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, while in an interview with Variety, shared that when they were brainstorming for ideas about how they could introduce a new way to spread the infection. After many discussions, they figured out a new way, the tendrils that the infected protruded from their mouths when they come in contact with a human will extend the infection other than biting down on them.
“We had a lot of conversations about what else can we do with the vector other than bites. We looked at concept art where there’s this implication of the fungus growing under the skin.
What if that was the thing? It’s not so much about the bite, they just need these tendrils to go from one host to another and that’s how the infection spreads.”
Neil Druckmann further shared that they received some backlash due to this particular change that they made. Though this was no simple and small change, directors Druckmann and Mazin thought it would be perfect to include this into the show instead of what the game showed, the spores.
Druckmann also commented that it was one of those things that the people would have loved if it was in the game. “Oh man, I wish we had it for the game. I wish we had thought of it years ago because I love it so much”. Though the audience was upset about this detail, it has also attracted many popular opinions, Mazin shares.
The Cast Were Told Not to Play the Game
In a recent interview, Pedro Pascal who plays the role of the male protagonist Joel shared that they were instructed not to play the game, though he broke the rule and did play the game. The showrunner wanted the actors’ original expressions and their emotions to come to life rather than imitating or being influenced by what they saw in the game. The directors did not want the actors to imitate but perform their own take on the characters.
The main protagonist, Bella Ramsey also revealed that they were advised not to play the game or watch any gameplay. “I was actually encouraged not to. After my first audition, they asked me, ‘Have you played it?’ And I said ‘nope,’ and they said, ‘Keep it that way’”. They further revealed that they did not follow the director’s command and did watch some of the game that was available on YouTube.
The Last of Us is available for streaming on HBO Max.