The Last of Us is widely acknowledged to be one of the most well-acted and fleshed out video game franchises of all time, so much so that HBO is planning to adapt the game into a series under Chernobyl director Craig Mazin. In an interview with Collider Games Podcast, actor Troy Baker, who essays the lead role of Joel, revealed he has already spoken to the actor he hopes will play the live-action version of the character.
"I remember being at LAX [Airport] and Josh Brolin was there, we were in the lounge together, and I walked up. I was like, 'Man, I doubt you remember this, but you and I were doing a movie.' He was doing No Country [for Old Men], and I was doing a western. And I was like, 'You and I met, we had drinks this one night, we had a good night.'"
"He was like, 'I think I remember that,' and I was like, 'I doubt you do, because I know how much we all had to drink.' I said, 'There is a game that's coming out. And I want you to know that, for me, so much of your work was very influential.' And he really, really was. And I was like, 'If you ever get the call for a character named Joel, I would be honored and I think you would be enriched to play that character.'"
The Last of Us tells the story of Joel, a smuggler operating in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, tasked with escorting a teenage girl named Ellie to safety. The third-person horror-survival game lays great emphasis on character development, and Ellie and Joel are considered the heart of the series, and what makes the game rise above the ranks of generic shooters.
Often in the past, Troy Baker has cited Brolin as one of the primary inspirations for his work as Joel, and the similarities between Brolin and Joel have been highlighted many times, so much so that a fan even asked the actor during a Reddit AMA whether he would consider playing the part in a live-action adaptation, to which Brolin had replied with his trademark humor.
"Thank you very much. I'm stuck on Robotron and Asteroids and Galaga. But that sounds interesting..."
Of course, there are fans who believe no one knows the character of Joel better than Baker himself, and he should be the one to play the character in the HBO series. But Baker believes he has given everything he could have to that particular role.
"All I want out of Joel, I have done. I have taken Joel as far as I can take it. I did the same in part one. Same in part two. That was my job, was to move that character as far forward as I could. What I'm excited about is finding someone that can give me a completely different side of Joel, and show me how far that character can stretch."
This news was first reported at Collider.