Bella Ramsey, aka Game of Thrones’ Lyanna Mormont, plays Ellie in the soon-to-be released The Last of Us TV adaptation from HBO. Along with Pedro Pascal’s Joel, we will see all the highs and lows these two characters go through on their perilous journey across America when the show makes its debut later this month.
However, it turns out that before Ramsey landed the part of Ellie, fellow Game of Thrones alum Maisie Williams (who played Arya Stark) was in talks for the role back when the game was being pegged for a film adaptation.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Naughty Dog president Neil Druckmann said the team needed to ensure that whoever was cast as Ellie in any adaptation would be able to appear “tough and vulnerable and wise beyond [their] years and also have a potential for violence” all at once.
Druckmann said there had been “dozens and dozens” of actors in talks for the role as soon as the idea of an adaptation was first considered, including Williams and Booksmart’s Kaitlyn Dever.
However, when the time came for HBO’s adaptation of The Last of Us to truly get going, actors such as Williams and Dever had grown too old for the role, and the casting process had to restart.
This is when Ramsey came in, with the actor going from audition to being cast as Ellie in less than a month.
“Bella felt so real,” Druckmann reflected on Ramsey’s audition. “It was like Ellie realised in live action. It didn’t feel like watching an actor.”
There have been many out there who have voiced their opinions about Ramsey’s casting, and not always favourably – something that has not passed Ramsey by.
“I’ve seen everything,” Ramsey told the publication. “I’m aware of all of it. It was my first experience, really, with a lot of negative reactions.”
However, Ramsey believes Ellie is a “character [she] already had in [her]”.
“Like the skins that you wear in a video game? She was one of my skins already,” Ramsey explained.
HBO’s The Last of Us adaptation is expected to cover the entirety of the first game and will debut on 15th/16th January (depending on which side of the pond you are). Naughty Dog has promised more “interviews and behind-the-scenes looks at the process” to coincide with the show.