Role Call: Casting The Last of Us Movie

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Oh man, what a busy couple of weeks The Last of Us has had.  Between its sweep at the BAFTA’s, the always happening talk of sequel news, and of course the release of the critically praised Left Behind DLC.  But the real talk of the town was the announcement of the live action film, to be made by Screen Gems and produced by Sam Raimi.  In addition, the film will be scripted by creative director Neil Druckmann, and a whole bunch of Naughty Dog vets are producing it as well.  So clearly there’s a lot of pedigree behind this one, which should make for an interesting adaptation.  But one of the most important aspects of the film that has yet to be explored is the cast, which is pretty much essential for pulling this one off.  Who should they bring on to fill the cast?  Well, I decided to do something that literally no one else on the internet has done: a list of who I want to see play the principal characters in The Last of Us.

And just in case you want to make the case that this could be a sequel or side story, forget about it—Druckmann has already confirmed that the film will be a direct adaptation of the game.  Womp womp.  In addition, I only made choices for the main characters—supporting ones (like Bill or Henry) I didn’t bother with.  Not because they don’t deserve to get a focus, but just because I’m lazy.  Enough dallying though, let’s get this on!


Josh Brolin as Joel


Obvious choice, and the man I thought would be great in the role from pretty much the first day I saw him.  Fellow fan favorite Hugh Jackman would work well in the part too (as Prisoners should, the man’s a great actor when dealing with themes of what a man would do to protect his family), but in my mind, this part would be perfect for Brolin.  And after Oldboy, the guy could really use a win again.


Kaitlyn Dever as Ellie


For a long time I struggled with this casting; in fact, I didn’t publish this list about half a year ago strictly because I couldn’t think of a young actress who would be good for the part of Ellie.  But a couple of months ago I watched Short Term 12, and instantly knew that I found my choice.  Kaitlyn Dever doesn’t have the name value of a Fanning or Steinfeld, but she’s an up and coming actress who has impressed me quite a bit with the roles I’ve seen her in so far.  Also, from the picture above, the resemblance is really damn strong.  Dever may not be who Sony looks at first, but she’s by far one of the best teen actresses out there right now.  And as for Ellen Page…guys, she’s like 30 years old.  It could never work.


Lena Headey as Tess


Maybe it’s the way they both have their heads slightly cocked in that picture, but the resemblance between Lena Headey and Tess is uncanny.  But it’s not just the physical attributes that make this casting works: Headey is known for playing tough women in projects like Dredd and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (not to mention that whole Game of Thrones thing), and she has the commanding presence necessary for the short (but incredibly vital) role of Tess.


Zoe Saldana as Marlene


Saldana is a little young for the role and her packed schedule will probably make cramming this film in a difficulty but, well playing the game, all I could think of is Saldana for Marlene.  Granted I’m kind of a huge fan of her as an actress, but I think she would be great for this role in much the same way Headey is great for Tess: she’s tough and strong, which is of course important for the head of the Fireflies to have.  Which, by the way, how great is it that two of the most powerful figures in The Last of Us are women?  Incredibly refreshing.


John Hawkes as David


Seriously, oh my god people, this HAS to happen.  Hawkes is so perfect for David that, when playing the segment of the game in which the character first makes his appearance, I legitimately thought Naughty Dog had casted the actor in the role without telling anyone (boy was I shocked to learn that it was Nathan Drake who actually lended his voice to the role.)  Hawkes is the only person I can think of for this part, and I would absolutely love if Sony gave it to him.


Josh Holloway as Tommy


Similar to David above, I thought Tommy was modeled directly after actor Josh Holloway when playing the game, just because the resemblance is so strong.  And though that isn’t the case, Holloway would certainly be terrific for the role in the film.  And besides, the guy needs to get a break EVENTUALLY—the fact he’s not a huge bankable star at this point continues to be a shocker for me.  And unless J.J Abrams recruits him for Episode VII like we all kind of hope, then this would be Holloway’s best shot at finding himself in a huge blockbuster again.


And that’s my list!  What do you think?  Was I on the money with my choices, are completely off base with all of them?  And either way, who would you chose to play the character in The Last of Us Movie?  Let us know in the comments.


  • Jared Russo

    This is a crazy good list, but can Cersei Lanister do a southern accent?

  • She has a British one in real life so she’s, like, half way there!

  • Mike

    She’s done an American accent easily in a few films, if they made it so, I’m for it!

  • John Dzencelowcz

    Holy crap! This is a pretty amazing and spot on list…which means Hollywood will not cast a single one of these actors. My only concern is Joel. I do not know if I can see Josh Brolin in the role and Hugh Jackman is too….Hugh Jackman. However John Hawkes as David and Josh Holloway as Tommy would be perfect!

  • John Dzencelowcz

    Dude…you should totally figure out a way to get this list to Naughty Dog. However, I read in Forbes that they are pursuing Maisie Williams (Arya Stark in Game of Thrones) to play Ellie.

  • matt

    i think this cast is perfect, apart from joel, just google gerald butler and look for the iconic “the last of us” poster of joel on his own, then look at them both side by side, then listen to both of their voices through gameplay and adverts… can you honestly say that he isnt the perfect cast for the role of joel because i dont believe for a second purely on this guys appearance that he doesnt fit the part

  • Joe Mottershaw

    John Hawkes is a must for David haha, it’s uncanny! Dylan McDermott I think would be better suited for Joel to be honest, after seeing him American Horror Story, love the choice for Ellie, Kaitlyn was my top pick too. I’m not that happy Maisie Williams is too runner for that role though, she doesn’t look like she’d suit!

  • Mike

    It was Nolan North who voiced david though