‘The Last of Us’ Screenwriter Neil Druckmann Says the Film Will Be Stripped Down

By August 11, 2014

Although this year’s Comic-Con didn’t come with the bursting bundle of big surprises we’ve come to expect from the annual gathering, there were a handful of announcements that stunned, from the news that we’re getting a King Kong prequel to a first look at Gal Gadot in costume as Wonder Woman, but Sony’s reveal that they actually are working on a film version of lauded video game The Last of Us might have taken the cake. Sure, it’s been a long-discussed possibility — chatter last kicked up back in November — but the news that it’s actually happening was, well, news to everyone.

Sony’s Screen Gems arm will produce the film, with Sam Raimi on board in a producing capacity and the game’s actual creator and writer Neil Druckmann set to pen the film’s script. While Comic-Con also brought the news that Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams is in contention for the lead role of Ellie, let’s still take that with a big grain of salt, mainly because we just don’t know when this film will get made.

Druckmann, however, is indeed powering through the film’s screenplay, and that’s presenting some of its own challenges. The newly-minted screenwriter recently sat down with MCV UK (via ComingSoon) to talk about what the film’s screenplay will look like versus the actual game play of The Last of Us. In short — different.

last of us 2

Druckmann shares with the outlet that he’s “in the middle of it now, and it’s been super difficult because there’s so much that happens in The Last of Us – even just in the cinematics – that can’t fit in a film, let alone all the gameplay in-between and dialogue.” Part of that challenge is obvious — a feature film simply won’t be quite as long as a fully played version of the game. “In two hours you can’t tell the same kind of story that you can in a game like The Last of Us, which is 15 hours,” Druckmann says.

So what is Druckmann focusing on? Well, the core relationship. He shares, “a film works really well when it’s laser-focused, so the first part of it was like: well, what is this story really about? It’s clearly about Joel and Ellie. What are the most important beats that we can’t lose? Start with those, and cut everything else out…It’s been really difficult to cut certain things out, but what I’m starting to get this is really focused narrative that’s about these two characters. Some parts will be similar to the game and some parts will be quite different, but it’s kind of interesting in helping me understand this other medium and its strengths compared to video games.”

What do you want to see in a Last of Us movie? Who is in your dream cast?

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Kate Erbland
Kate Erbland is a staff writer for movie news and reviews at GeekNation. Her work can also be found at Film School Rejects, ScreenCrush, Vanity Fair, The Dissolve, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, amNewYork, New York Daily News, Dame Magazine, Mental Floss, Film.com, MSN Movies, and Boxoffice Magazine. She lives in New York City with two cats, two turtles, one boyfriend, and a frightening number of sensible canvas totes.