Saturday, May 18, 2024

‘The Last of Us’ co-creator Craig Mazin says Matthew McConaughey was also in talks to star as Joel

While audiences have loved Pedro Pascal as Joel in the TV-series, ‘The Last of Us’, the co-creator of the show Craig Mazin has revealed that Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey was also in talks to play the leading role in the highly-acclaimed series.

During a recent episode of the ‘Happy Sad Confused’ podcast Mazin said that he “did talk to Matthew (McConaughey)” at one point.

“I can’t say that it was like a series (of conversations). It was more of a, ‘Hey, here’s something to talk about,'” he explained, as per ‘The Hollywood Reporter’.

“Pedro was on our list from the start. We were told he was unavailable, and then as we were floundering about a little bit, I got a call from his (McConaughey’s) agent who said, ‘You know, he actually might be available.'”

Mazin, who oversaw the series beside fellow showrunner and video game creator, Neil Druckmann, went on to detail Pascal’s excitement for the series after reading the script for the first time.

“Normally when you send scripts to actors like this, you’re lucky if you get a read within a month,” he said, noting that Pascal, 48, was filming a movie in England at the time. I sent it (script) on a Friday; Saturday morning I got a call…he loves it, he wants to get on a Zoom.”

After thinking “that was a pretty good sign”, they all got on a Zoom and “had what I think was maybe the most wonderful Zoom I’ve ever had. I mean… just love at first sight, and he was so immediately insightful about it.”

Mazin added: “Matthew McConaughey is an amazing actor. I’m sure it would have been great but it would have been different; and I like the one that we made, so what can I say, I think it worked out.”

The series – which also stars Nick Offerman, Murray Bartlett, Gabriel Luna, Merle Dandridge, Nico Parker, Jeffrey Pierce, and Anna Torv – has been met with wide critical and commercial success since its debut in January 2023.

Although McConaughey never ended up playing the role of Joel, Viacom CBS President Chris McCarthy confirmed that the 53-year-old actor will be starring in a spinoff of the Paramount+ series, ‘Yellowstone’, in an interview with ‘The Hollywood Reporter’ after original show lead Kevin Costner’s exit.

Based on the PS3 game of the same name by developer Naughty Dog, ‘The Last of Us’, which was released in 2013, the series is set in the backdrop of a world devastated by an apocalypse caused a fungal outbreak that has killed most of humanity or turned them into zombie like creatures called the ‘Infected’.

Now divided into zones controlled by either fascist governments, raiders and some independent survivor zones, the show follows survivors, Joel (Pascal) a smuggler who escorts a girl named and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) to the base of the rebels called Fireflies fighting the evil government regime, as she is immune to the fungus, leading the Fireflies to believe that her blood can result in a cure.

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