The Last of Us HBO show star Bella Ramsey was asked not to play the game before joining the show

Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us
(Image credit: HBO)

The Last of Us HBO show's Bella Ramsey was asked not to play the game before joining the show.

That's according to an interview with USA Today, in which Ramsey was asked if she'd played any of Naughty Dog's acclaimed post-apocalyptic shooter The Last of Us before she joined the cast as Ellie.

"I was actually encouraged not to," Ramsey said. "After my first audition, they asked me, 'Have you played it?' And I said 'nope', and they said, 'Keep it that way'!"

Ramsey didn't come without any knowledge of the story, though. 

"I did watch some of the gameplay on YouTube just to get a sense of it," she admitted. 

Ramsey said that dedicating a full year to the project when she was just 19 was a big deal, and shared a lovely exchange she'd had with co-star Pedro Pascal, who plays the embittered Joel alongside her on the show.

"I'm so excited for it to come out – it was such a big part of my life. I shot for a whole year, which is quite a long time when you've only lived for 19 years. 

"Pedro wrote a little card to me at the end, saying, 'How interesting that something so huge and life-changing should happen so early in your life and so late in mine'. I thought it was a really sweet observation and I just had the best time." 

A synopsis previously released by HBO reads: "The story takes place 20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed. Joel, a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal, heartbreaking journey, as they both must traverse across the U.S. and depend on each other for survival."

Much of the complete cast for The Last of Us has already been announced. Alongside Pascal and Ramsey is Gabriel Luna, who will be playing Joel’s brother Tommy. They’ll be joined by Merle Dandridge, who reprises her role as Marlene from the first game. Anna Torv will play Tess; Nick Offerman is portraying Bill; Nico Parker is playing Joel’s daughter Sarah, while Joel and Ellie’s game actors Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson will also appear in undisclosed roles.

The Last of Us is set for release on HBO in the US and Sky Atlantic and NOW TV in the UK in 2023, and the first trailer for The Last of Us TV series has landed.

Here's our roundup of all the upcoming video game movies right here, or check out all the major new TV shows that are coming your way in the next 12 months.

Vikki Blake
Weekend Reporter, GamesRadar+

Vikki Blake is GamesRadar+'s Weekend Reporter. Vikki works tirelessly to ensure that you have something to read on the days of the week beginning with 'S', and can also be found contributing to outlets including the BBC, Eurogamer, and Vikki also runs a weekly games column at NME, and can be frequently found talking about Destiny 2 and Silent Hill on Twitter.