The showrunners of HBO’s The Last Of Us adaptation, Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin, have responded to criticism that lead actors Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey have not played the games the show is based on. In this response, it has been revealed that the pair were explicitly told not to play the games, as a way of letting them have creative control over the roles.

This news comes from an interview with Mazin for the Washington Post, in which they touch upon the controversy they have faced for Ramsey and Pascal not having completed the game. Mazin says, “I didn’t coach [Ramsey] to do Ellie’s mannerisms, I didn’t coach her to do Ellie’s rhythms. I didn’t coach her to do anything, except inside of the scenes I let her know what the intentions were in the dialogue and in the text.”

Pedro Pascal 2
Pascal and Ramsey were told to make Joel and Ellie ‘their own’.

The interview also revealed that Pascal and Ramsey had ‘cheated’ by watching some gameplay videos on YouTube, but Mazin wanted to make sure that they made the roles their own. Worry came for some after Ramsey was interviewed by USA Today, where she said she was “actually encouraged not to” play the game after telling the showrunners that she hadn’t in her audition.

Mazin understands where the worry comes from but still claims it was “frustrating to know what we had and to see people doubting.” He continues by adding, “we know Ellie and Joel completely. We know them inside and out, not only as they were manifested in such a beautiful way by [the characters’ in-game actors] Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, but just from the ground up.”

Despite the doubt from fans, it seems they were unfounded as the first episode of the HBO adaption has been met with critical acclaim as well as hitting 10 million viewers on HBO and HBO Max in just two days. With the next episode set to air on Sunday, many have already forgotten their previous concerns after seeing Pascal and Ramsey’s performances as Joel and Ellie. We loved what we saw.

Do you think the showrunners made the right decision? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned to GameLuster for more gaming news!

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