Pedro Pascal has been confirmed to play Joel
**UPDATE 2/10/21 11:09pm EST**
According to Dealine, Pedro Pascal, star of Disney+ hit TV series Star Wars: The Mandalorian has been confirmed to take on the role of Joel. His popularity and Emmy winning status has garnered him multiple attractive roles from some of the top networks and streaming services, but he chose The Last of Us HBO. This makes Pascal the third member from Game of Thrones to be on set for HBO’s upcoming production.
According to official confirmation from The Hollywood Reporter, Mahershala Ali was offered the key role in The Last of Us HBO series as the rough and tough-as-nails survival expert and smuggler extraordinaire named Joel, but it didn’t stick. Sources close to the actor stated Ali was considering it but the deal never happened. The all-star team behind the HBO adaptation of the video game has Neil Druckman as a writer and executive producer along with Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin, and Carolyn Strauss(worked on both Game of Thrones and Chernobyl) as another executive producer.
They’ve even gone as far as to hire Kantemir Balagov to direct the pilot episode. Bagalov has won many awards overseas – one of them being best director for Beanpole in 2019 in the Cannes Film Festival. The series is supposed to stick as close to the main story from the games, since that’s what made TLOU so phenomenal in the first place.
The decision of potentially casting Ali as Joel is interesting because this would have potentially changed up part of the cast as well. If HBO and the team over at Sony Picture Television, Playstation Productions, Word Games, and Naughty Dog decide to be more socially conscious – certain elements might not stick…or it can actually be well received and end up being a story of it’s own. Something that’ll separate it from the narrative of it’s video game counterpart. We saw this work out exceptionally well with the first season of The Watchmen HBO series starring Regina King and the direction that show went in.
I feel that in this particular case, race is crucial to the role and the overall story. In the game Joel is a white guy from Austin, Texas that found his way to Seattle with his brother Tommy after the pandemic that put the entire country in ruins. This isn’t to say that the character of Joel can’t be BIPOC, but the way Joel was written, voiced, and even mocapped(motion capture) with all the mannerisms of a white man.
The team first offered the role of Joel to Matthew McConaughey, who actually turned down the offer. Casting actors with a lot of notoriety can be a success for a television series, and sometimes it can fail because they just weren’t the right fit.
Speaking of a right fit to a role, Bella Ramsey, also confirmed by THR, has been confirmed to take on the role of Ellie. As you may know, Ellie is a 14 year old girl that managed to survive the grittiness of the post-apocalyptic world with the help of Joel, and vice versa. You may recognize Ramsey from her astonishing role as Lyanna Mormont in HBO’s Game of Thrones. I’ll be bringing you more details on this story as it unfolds!