Ashley Johnson "projectile" cried when Neil Druckmann offered her a part in The Last of Us TV series

Ashley Johnson as Anna in The Last of Us
(Image credit: HBO)

Ashley Johnson, the voice actress for Ellie in the Last of Us video game series, cried
"projectile tears" when she was offered the role of Ellie's mother in the HBO show. 

Speaking to GamesRadar+ and other assembled media at a recent roundtable, Johnson said that Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckmann actually text her to ask if she'd be interested in playing the new character. 

"Yeah, he just texted and said 'Hey, Craig [Mazin] and I have been talking and, would you like to play Ellie's mom?' and I was just ... projectile tears. I was just like 'What? Are you serious?'," says Johnson. 

Ellie's mom, Anna, is a brand new character for The Last of Us TV show, with her only otherwise referenced in notes and a short conversation in the games themselves. Instead, the TV show gives Anna the spotlight at the opening of the final episode, in a harrowing scene that - for the first time - explains how Ellie has gained her immunity.

"The layers of being able to play Ellie's mom and the metaphor of bringing her into the world and being the first person to fight to keep her alive," she adds, drawing parallels between her experience of bringing Ellie to life in the game, and now again in the TV show in a very different way. 

"It's just wild to me - voice actors generally don't get into the fold of putting something on screen. I'm so grateful and so happy, and I had a blast shooting it."

The Last of Us TV show finale has now aired on both HBO Max in the US and Sky Atlantic/NOW in the UK. For more from the series, check out our guide to the major Last of Us episode 9 changes from the games and a terrifying look at the Cordyceps fungus.

Sam Loveridge
Global Editor-in-Chief, GamesRadar+

Sam Loveridge is the Global Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar, and joined the team in August 2017. Sam came to GamesRadar after working at TrustedReviews, Digital Spy, and Fandom, following the completion of an MA in Journalism. In her time, she's also had appearances on The Guardian, BBC, and more. Her experience has seen her cover console and PC games, along with gaming hardware, for a decade, and for GamesRadar, she's in charge of the site's overall direction, managing the team, and making sure it's the best it can be. Her gaming passions lie with weird simulation games, big open-world RPGs, and beautifully crafted indies. She plays across all platforms, and specializes in titles like Pokemon, Assassin's Creed, The Sims, and more. Basically, she loves all games that aren't sports or fighting titles! In her spare time, Sam likes to live like Stardew Valley by cooking and baking, growing vegetables, and enjoying life in the countryside.