EXCLUSIVE: 'The Last of Us' Co-Creator Craig Mazin Praises Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsay's Amazing Chemistry as Central to HBO Series
The Last of Us co-creator Craig Mazin discusses the amazing chemistry between Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsay that is at the heart of the series. Based on Naughty Dog's 2013 video game of the same name, The Last of Us follows persistent smuggler Joel on a mission to protect and transport 14-year-old Ellie across America. The Last of Us is set in a world ravaged by a fungal outbreak that killed most of the global population. The relationship between Ellie and Joel is the emotional core of the game around which the story revolves, and so will the HBO series.
In an exclusive interview with Screen Rant, Mazin explained that the amazing chemistry between Pascal and Ramsay came naturally to both actors. He shared how important he and Neil Druckmann knew the relationship was to the success of the HBO series. Mazin also revealed the moment he learned that Pascal and Ramsey captured the essence of Joel and Ellie and their compelling dynamic while filming The Last of Us.
Craig Mazin: We didn't have to find that chemistry. Neil and I understood the chemistry from a dramatic point of view. We poured all of that into the page. It obviously is all taken from Neil's game. That's why we're all here, that relationship between Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us 2013. Awesome. So we know it. We feel it. We breathe it. We put it on the page. We find two actors that we know embody the spirit and soul of Joel and the spirit and soul of Ellie, and then we put Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey together and go, "I hope this works," because chemistry is chemistry. It's a mystery. I was directing that episode when they come together for the first time, and I just remember sitting back in my chair going, "We're going to be okay." They just had something, and the chemistry that they have both on and off the set is remarkable. They are in love with each other in the most beautiful way. They take care of each other. I think that Bella looks up to Pedro and I think Pedro looks up to Bella, and they look out for each other, and they advocate for each other. Whenever I see them on these press things, they're just always like, "Oh, God." It's real. It's real, and you can feel it all the way through.
Ellie & Joel Relationship Is The Heart Of The Last Of Us
Although the success of The Last of Us depends on a number Among the many factors, one of the most important is the relationship between Ellie and Joel. The chemistry between Pascal and Ramsey is key to this dynamic. Both Ellie and Joel have become closed off after a huge loss, but they've brought out what they thought was lost in each other. Ellie restores some childlike wonder of the world, and it bleeds when Joel's paternal instincts take over.
Ellie was born into a world that never experienced pre-COVID situations. Because of this and the loss she has suffered, she has become closed off and very independent. Joel has also suffered a great loss, both personally and in the world he once knew. He initially sees Ellie as a means to an end, calling her cargo in the The Last of Us trailer. The game beautifully depicts how this relationship builds from this starting point, and Pascal and Ramsay seem to have the chemistry needed to recreate that compelling dynamic.
The Last of Us is one of the strongest narrative video games, with the evolving relationship between Ellie and Joel being the emotional core of the story. In game, jump into Time allows The Last of Us to show how this relationship can work without getting bogged down in day-to-day woes. Games can showcase the big and small moments that take place as Ellie and Joel go from reluctant travel buddies to each other's closest buddies. While the horror, action, story, and world-building are all enthralling, Ellie and Joel are the ones who really bring The Last of Us to life.