How Did The Last of Us Find Its A-List Guest Stars?

How Did The Last of Us Find Its A-List Guest Stars? ...

"The Last of Us" is dominating TV lovers' conversations, whether in its first-person action sequences, its deeply creepy zombie makeup, or its immaculate use of Linda Ronstadt. The story of a potentially virus-immune girl named Ellie (Bella Ramsey) introducing other survivors to people who might otherwise be able to overcome the end of the world.

"The Last of Us" blurs the divide between guest and supporting and star roles, according to casting director Victoria Thomas from IndieWire. "We all wanted gravitas and really good actors from the beginning. You know, in my first meeting with Craig, we talked about casting great actors."

Melanie Lynskey is the latest of these ringer additions to the series, introduced in Episode 4 as Kathleen, a leader in (tenuous) control of Kansas City 20 years after civilization's collapse. Kathleen has neither embodied her bone-deep sadness as the gentle, wry, everywoman she's made a career out of portraying in movies.

"The Last of Us"

Liane Hentscher/HBO

In Episode 4, the interrogation sequences, Lynskey's persona is used to great effect, upending our expectations of Kathleen's problem-solving style. Thomas said, "This was a chance for her to do something that she had never done before."

In Episode 3, Nick Offerman's and Murray Bartlett's roles were equally given the opportunity to experiment and try something different. The tale of Bill and Frank, told more or less as a tangent from the series' ongoing plotline, is a departure from the original game, where a (somehow) even grumpier Bill butts heads with Ellie, and Frank is long dead.

Announcing that fact with a tender love story that is almost a feature-length zombie apocalypse-themed response to the opening montage of "Up" is an authoritative strategy to accomplish this goal. Offerman's and Murray's month-long shoot allowed them to stretch their dramatic muscles, while the presence, gravitas, and graying beards they brought to the roles made that evolution even more intentional and meaningful.

"The Last of Us"


Thomas said it was important to keep one foot firmly planted in the source material and one foot in the ways the television show would expand on the game's world. "We were able to] honor the fans and honor the actors, and then introduce new characters and new actors, and just hopefully make sure that the relationships work."

Thomas's main argument remained constant, no matter how big the role may be: "This is a truly unique role, and it will have an impact." It is directed by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, and this is a cast we've assembled so far, and we'd really like for you to be a part of it."