The series adaptation of The Last of Us will begin filming in Calgary, Canada, on July 5, and the plan is to close production on June 8, 2022. This is the first series to be produced by PlayStation Productions, a studio formed by Sony to bring its video game licenses to film and television; in this case it will be directed by Craig Mazin, creator of HBO’s award-winning Chernobyl, who will write and produce alongside Neil Druckmann, director of the games.

The Last of Us takes place 20 years after civilization suffered the strange jump between species of a fungus that turns people into a species of zombies. It follows in the footsteps of Joel, a survivor hired as a smuggler to lead young Ellie out of a quarantined area. The job seems straightforward but along the way across America they will face countless infected, gangs and a hostile environment. Pedro Pascal – The Mandalorian, Game of Thrones, Narcos – will play Joel, and Bella Ramsey – Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones – will be Ellie. The adventure is told over the course of a year, with its different seasons, hence the production will span an entire year.

Jason Kenney, premier of Alberta, commented during a Facebook Live that this will be “the largest, I believe, television or film production in Canadian history,” while economy, labour and innovation minister Doug Schweitzer says this will be “a record-breaking year” for Alberta productions. “We welcome all productions, particularly large-scale series from major studios that create hundreds of jobs and showcase our wonderful landscapes on a global scale.”

Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us was released in 2013 and became a critically acclaimed game. It surpassed 20 million copies sold in 2019 and last year received a sequel, The Last of Us Part II, which has also managed to become game of the year. The series will be inspired by the original and Mazin assures that, unlike other adaptations, this one will do justice to the material it is based on.

“I can’t tell you much except that the problem fans usually have is, when the property is licensed to others, that those people don’t understand it, change it or make it stupid. But in this case I’m doing it with the guy who created it. The changes we make are designed to fill in gaps and expand the story. Not to undo, but to expand.” Mazin also says it’s “a dream come true” because he’s a fan of the games, though he’s “kind of scared, because the emotions connected to this game are pretty intense.”

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