It’s to be expected that the constraints of a feature-length film based on a video game will require screenwriters to take some license with the source material, especially when a game can unfold over several days of playing time and offer some open-ended narrative threads. In a new interview, the writer of both The Last Of Us game and the upcoming film based on that game offers some indication of what changes will need to be made in taking the story of beleaguered survivors Ellie and Joel to the big screen.
“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,” Neil Druckmann, writer and creative director of The Last of Us, told MCV. Druckmann is currently penning a draft of the film’s script, and hints that fans of the game should expect a few significant changes to the narrative found in the wildly popular survival-horror game.
Announced back in March 2014, The Last Of Us movie appears to have some impressive momentum behind it right now, with recently confirmed producer Sam Raimi appearing during Comic-Con in San Diego with Druckmann to discuss the project. The pair hinted that Game Of Thrones actress Maisie Williams is being sought after to play protagonist Ellie, and that the choice of director on the film will fall to Druckmann.
“I’m in the middle of [writing the script] 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,” said Druckmann. “It almost has this novel quality as far as how much content there is. And 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 is this really focused narrative that’s about these two characters,” he explained. “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.”
There’s currently no release date set for The Last Of Us movie.