The Last Of Us Gave Bella Ramsey A Real Gun For A Shocking Reason

Bella Ramsey used a real rifle while filming a particular scene in episode 8 of The Last of Us, to show the actress' genuine difficult in holding the weapon.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

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Bella Ramsey in “When We Are in Need” – The Last of Us S1 E8

It sounds like a questionable move considering the tragic events on the set of Rust, but apparently at least one scene in the latest episode of HBO Max‘s The Last of Us — Episode 8 “When We Are in Need” — was filmed with Bella Ramsey (Ellie) handling a real rifle. On an episode of the official The Last of Us podcast, co-creator and showrunner Craig Mazin revealed that Ramsey handled a real firearm precisely because it was so difficult for her to do so. The rifle was heavy and difficult for the actress to lift, and that struggling survived to enhance the finished product.

Mazin was speaking to Troy Baker — who voices Joel in The Last of Us game and plays righthand man to the twisted preacher David (Scott Shepherd) in “When We Are in Need” — when he recounted directing Ramsey in the scene:

“From off camera, we would occasionally be like, ‘Lift the gun! Lift the gun!’ … It starts to lower, but she can’t lower it. She has to keep it on you guys. And yet you can see her struggling with it. And we kept some of those moments in. They’re subtle, but you can tell … She’s not equipped, and yet she’s trying her best.”

-Craig Mazin

Mazin added that the day after shooting the scene, Ramsey “was feeling it, like, in her biceps and her pecs.” He also made sure to point out that the rifle, while real, had no ammunition in it. The writer said that guns on the set of The Last of Us are never loaded — whether they’re handled by Ramsey, Pedro Pascal, or anyone else — not even with blanks.

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It isn’t clear exactly when “When We Are in Need” was shot. Filming for The Last of Us took place on and off between July 2021 and October 2022. While Craig Mazin assured listeners that none of the weapons used on set were loaded, it would still be a little surprising to learn that after Alec Baldwin‘s gun discharged on the set of Rust in October 2021 — killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza — that it would be considered acceptable to have a teenage actor pointing a real rifle at other actors on set.

Regardless, it probably won’t be any time soon that anyone will be telling Craig Mazin, Neil Druckmann, or any of the other The Last of Us creators to stop doing things however they feel like doing the. The post-apocalyptic series continues to break streaming records for HBO Max, leaving even House of the Dragon in the rearview mirror. The series finale airs this coming Sunday night, and if the show’s popularity so far is any indication, it’s bound to be one of the biggest streaming drops of the last few years.