The director behind the Emmy award-winning Chernobyl, Johan Renck, is now on board to direct the pilot for HBO's adaptation of the popular post-apocalyptic video game The Last of Us. Renck will be teaming up once again with Chernobyl writer Craig Mazin who in turn will be working alongside the writer and creative director of the game, Neil Druckmann, to bring The Last of Us to live-action life.
Carolyn Strauss will also executive produce along with Renck, Druckmann and Evan Wells, the president of Naughty Dog, the developer of the video game. The project is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television in association with PlayStation Productions. It will be the first television series from PlayStation Productions.
Aside from the critically acclaimed mini-series Chernobyl, Renck is something of a television directing veteran having turned his creative eye to the likes of Breaking Bad, Bloodline, Halt and Catch Fire, Bates Motel, and another hugely successful post-apocalypse vision The Walking Dead.
Sony and Naughty Dog's The Last of Us is now considered to be one of the most impressive video games of modern times and has garnered critical praise for its engrossing tale and cinematic visuals. The story centers on Joel, a smuggler in this new dystopian world, and Ellie, a teenager who may be key to a cure for humanity's ills. Joel, a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle the 14-year-old girl out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal, heartbreaking journey as they traverse the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.
Renck revealed his involvement during a recent interview, in which he also expressed his excitement over once again working with Craig Mazin.
"I'm an executive producer on it and attached to it. It's an ongoing TV series. So that's not something that I will be able to take on to that extent, but I'm part of that series and I will be directing at least the pilot. Then we'll see how it goes on further. I mean, both Craig and I, we are working with each other again and we will work with each other on other things because we like each other."
Renck also provided some details regarding the creative team's approach to the adaptation of The Last of Us.
"You have for instance 'The Last of Us' with Craig, in which you have a video game character who's very much top of mind with anybody who's ever played that game. More than that, they know exactly what he looks like, how he talks, how he acts, and so on and so forth. We're having weekly calls, Craig and I, and also Neil [Druckmann] who created the game, about various approaches and how to deal with that. How to deal with the fact that a video game character is way further than a character from a book. But also it's more different to deal with than a real person. For instance, Valery Legasov from 'Chernobyl' - because nobody had ever seen or heard of him - it wasn't pivotal to honor anything of that."
The Last of Us is currently looking at a release date sometime in 2021. This comes to us from Discussing Film.