The Last Of Us Creator Wanted To Cast Matthew McConaughey As Joel

After Pedro Pascal was unavailable, The Last Of Us showrunner tried to cast Matthew McConaughey.

By Chad Langen | Published

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The Last of Us has proven to be a colossal hit for HBO Max, with its faithful recreation of the iconic video games. Much of its success comes from the impeccable casting, with Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller and Bella Ramsey as Ellie Williams stealing the show. However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, there was a time when Matthew McConaughey was considered for the part of Joel, which would have likely changed the series entirely.

In a recent episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast with Josh Horowitz, Craig Mazin, co-creator of The Last of Us, mentioned that he did have a chat with McConaughey. He clarified that although Pedro was always on their list for the part of Joel Miller, they were informed that he wasn’t available. It seems that during this period of uncertainty they started talks with McConaughey.

“I can’t say that it was like a series [of conversations]. It was more of a, ‘Hey, here’s something to talk about,” Mazin explained. Despite initial signs from McConaughey’s agent that the Oscar-winning actor could be available, things didn’t pan out for unknown reasons. Luckily, Pedro Pascal, despite filming a movie in England, found the time to read over the script for The Last of Us and expressed his enthusiasm to portray Joel Miller the very next day.

Mazin shared that he sent the script to Pedro Pascal on a Friday, and by Saturday morning, Pascal was already enthusiastic about setting up a Zoom call. He described this as possibly the best Zoom meeting he’s ever been a part of. He was particularly thrilled by how passionate Pascal seemed to be about The Last of Us.

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Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey

HBO Max’s adaptation of the celebrated video game has swiftly emerged as a prime jewel in the crown of the streaming platform, with its unique combination of stellar casting, its captivating narrative, and gritty realism.

The Last of Us has impressed fans and critics alike for bringing to life the post-apocalyptic world envisioned in the iconic video game. The dynamic performances of Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey have been instrumental in making the characters of Joel Miller and Ellie Williams as beloved as their game counterparts.

The exceptional crew behind The Last of Us has played a significant part in its success as well. Co-created by Craig Mazin, famous for his work on Chernobyl, and Neil Druckmann, the creative force behind the original game, the show presents a compelling interpretation of the video game’s universe.

Their unique collaboration undoubtedly helps the series retain the poignant storytelling, immersive gameplay elements, and the essence of the human struggle from the original game.

Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal

Set against the grim backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world, The Last of Us unravels a harrowing tale where a deadly fungal infection has nearly obliterated human society, metamorphosing those afflicted into grotesque and horrifying creatures. Central to this narrative is Joel Miller, a grizzled survivor whose past experiences have forged him into a hardened shell, tasked with a perilous assignment: to smuggle Ellie Williams, a resilient 14-year-old girl harboring a secret of potentially monumental importance, out of a heavily fortified quarantine zone.

As Joel and Ellie navigate their way across the wreckage of what was once the United States, their shared odyssey evolves into a deeply moving exploration of survival and loyalty, underscoring the profound lengths to which an individual might go to safeguard those they come to care about, reshaping the confines of their relationship and their understanding of hope amidst despair.