The Last Of Us

Last year, the gaming world was delivered a visceral and emotional masterpiece of a game. It was deeply character driven, featuring a wide range of talented actors which include two protagonists whose powerful, and often heartbreaking relationship becomes the core element of what could have been just another “zombie shooter” (but didn’t – read on). In what has slowly become an almost too familiar setting, The Last of Us, developed by Naughty Dog Studios (best known for the Uncharted franchise) was a breath of fresh air to many fans. Finding itself not only nominated for, but winning nearly every award for which it was qualified.

Browsing Internet forums, I quickly found that I was not the only one who often questioned if such a heartfelt and epic story could be re-told in the form of a motion picture. Well, it seems that today Sony has answered that question. Alongside Naughty Dog and Screen Gems, they look to turn the critically acclaimed PS3 hit into a live action film. As a huge fan of all things gaming with a keen historical recollection of the cringe-worthy game-to-film adaptations of the past, I’m not sure whether to cheer or “facepalm” until my coffee gets cold.

Sam Raimi, director of Evil Dead, will team up with Naughty Dog bosses Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra to take on this project. Neil Druckmann and Bruce Staley, the directors of the game itself are also said to be involved, which does of course grant me a measure of solace and hope that the film adaptation might actually be the success which fans of the game deserve. There’s been no official information in regards to the plot other than the logline which reads:

Hardened survivor Joel teams with young and capable companion Ellie to journey through a radically transformed world some 20 years after an infectious pandemic ravages humanity. The game has won numerous awards and has been a big seller since its release last summer.

Screen Gems president, Clint Culpepper has stated, “Screen Gems’ Brian Dukes and Eric Ling brought this game to my attention insisting we go after it. When I saw the quality of the storytelling, I knew the audience for this project was far greater than just the gaming community and that Neil Druckmann must write the screenplay. I am thrilled that SCEA’s Riley Russell was able to get me in front of Neil and Evan Wells to plead my case. And Sam and his team at Ghost House round out the perfect team to help realize Neils vision.”

So, what do you as fans think? I’m sure the debates will spread like wildfire on who should play whom and whether or not this should even be attempted. It’s not uncommon for a game-to-film adaptation to do well in the box office on opening weekend, though it isveryrare for such titles to impress both critics and gamers alike. I, for one, will be approaching this with my usual over-eagerness, excitement and high expectation which ultimately leaves me a sad and angry man-child who feels Hollywood has ruined one of his beloved video games.

Or who knows? Perhaps this will turn out to be a ‘masterpiece’ like Mario Brothers circa 1993! One can only dream…

Article by Steve Payne

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