The Last Of Us Nearly Cast An Even Bigger Game Of Thrones Star

The Last of Us spent so long in development that Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams aged out of the role of Elle.

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

The last of us

HBO’s adaptation of the hit video game, The Last Of Us, stars two Game of Thrones alumni, but one of the roles almost went to a more famous star from the same show, Maisie Williams. Movieweb reports that before Bella Ramsey, who played Lyanna Mormont on Game of Thrones, got the role of Elle thanks to one simple fact: Williams had aged out of the role, as she’s now 25 and no longer able to play a character as young as Elle, according to HBO and game developer Neil Druckmann.

When Druckmann first approached HBO about adapting The Last of Us, the plan was for it to be a movie, and at the time Maisie Williams was becoming a huge star thanks to her portrayal of Arya Stark. Due to Uncharted, another Naughty Dog video game adaptation, going through its own developmental hell, The Last of Us was delayed from moving forward until 2020, and by then, Williams was too old, but another choice for Elle had also aged out, Kaitlyn Dever from Booksmart. The indie-comedy star was a fan favorite as well, in part due to her resemblance to the character in the video game, but also because of her breakout role as Amy.

Dever came close to getting cast in The Last Of Us, making it as far as a table read, which is further than Maisie Williams made thanks to the aforementioned developmental hell time period. Dozens of additional actresses were interviewed after Dever had been ruled out, with Williams’ Game of Thrones so-star getting the much-sought after role of Elle, and in a rarity for bid budget productions, Bella Ramsey was cast within a month of auditioning. Her co-star, Pedro Pascal, is almost forgotten as breaking out in Game of Thrones in his role as Oberyn Martell, The Viper, thanks to what came next for the genre superstar.

Maisie Williams
Maisie Williams as Arya Stark

One of the highest paid television stars currently working, Pedro Pascal went from the combat arena of King’s Landing to a galaxy far, far away when he landed the role of The Mandalorian in the titular Disney+ series. Credited with saving one of the greatest franchises in pop culture, Pascal’s work as Din Djarin has led to award nominations, and a very nice paycheck, far beyond what he received for seven episodes in Westeros. The Last of Us, even without another huge star in Maisie Williams, is on track to be one of most expensive television shows in history.

With a rumored budget of $10 million to $15 million per episode, The Last Of Us now holds a record as the most expensive production filmed in Canada. Yes, it’s more expensive to make the nine episode first season than it was to film the entire series of Flashpoint and Rookie Blue, combined. Maisie Williams may not be part of the HBO payday for the long-awaited game adaptation, but the star has been keeping busy since hanging up Needle.

When The Last of Us premieres on January 15th, Maisie Williams will be deep in production on Sinner V. Saints, based on a bizarre true story of a woman that kidnapped a Mormon missionary. After that, Williams will be starring in an Apple+ series, The New Look, about the amazing real-life of Catherine Dior, sister of the fashion designer, that fought the Nazis as part of the French Resistance.