The Last of Us director says the HBO series will "re-interpret" certain parts of the game

The Last of Us
(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

The Last of Us TV show will "re-interpret" some parts of the original game, according to Naughty Dog director (and HBO series producer) Neil Druckmann.

Speaking on the Script Apart podcast, Druckmann said "It’s a different creative group than the one that made the games. [Co-writer] Craig [Mazin] and the other actors, and even some of the producers, are bringing some of their own sensibilities."

Druckmann pointed to the scrapped Last of Us movie – which would get notes on making the set-pieces "bigger" – as being worlds apart from the original’s game approach to replicating the intimacy of an indie movie. Thankfully, that intimacy will now be present in the HBO series.

"With the show, we get to lean into [the intimacy] even more. We don’t have to have as many action sequences as we do in the game… Now we’re in a different medium, let’s play to the strengths of this medium. That’s been really fun to explore with other people to see how they interpret the material and re-interpret some of the material in really fascinating ways."

But fret not: this is still going be The Last of Us you know and love. "The structure of The Last of Us, the underpinnings of it all there,” Druckmann re-affirms, though they’re "telling slightly different stories" using the foundation of the game series.

"The characters are shifting and evolving based on this other medium, based on the fact there’s other creatives working on it," Druckmann said.

Co-creator Craig Mazin touched upon the tweaks to the source material in a 2020 interview with the BBC: "The changes that we're making are designed to fill things out and expand, not to undo, but rather to enhance," he explained at the time.

The show, it seems, is finally coming together. The Last of Us HBO series recently cast its leads: The Mandalorian actor Pedro Pascal is set to play Joel, while Game of Thrones’ Bella Ramsey is portraying Ellie. Gabriel Luna has been cast alongside the duo as Joel’s brother, Tommy.

Pre-production is currently underway – and the cameras are expected to start rolling from July. The current release date is, as yet, unknown.

For more on the adaptation of another Naughty Dog classic, check out everything we know so far about the Uncharted movie.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.