A film version of the Naughty Dog game The Last of Us has been confirmed, and Screen Gems has signed on to distribute, according to Variety. Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures will produce, and Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann, the creative director and writer of the game, will write the script.
Now, before you go getting excited, keep in mind that this is still just a distribution agreement. The script hasn’t been written yet, no one has been cast, and nothing has been shot. Games are optioned all the time (check out or list of the games that may or may not become movies for proof of that), and many of them end up going nowhere. Even films with powerful backing can find themselves repeatedly going nowhere – take Sony’s Uncharted, for example, which just signed its third director in as many years.
With The Last of Us, things are looking good at the moment – very good – but temper your expectations. With that said, Naughty Dog seems to be excited, which is a good sign.
“Our partnership with Sam Raimi, Ghost House Pictures, and Screen Gems to develop a film based on The Last of Us universe is a perfect fit,” said Evan Wells, Naughty Dog’s co-president. “Since our game released last June, we’ve talked with many companies about making a film, but we couldn’t have found better partners who share our creative vision and high standards. We look forward to collaborating with Sam, his team, and Screen Gems, to make a movie that will thrill fans of The Last of Us and general audiences worldwide.”
The Last of Us takes place 20 years after an outbreak of a fungus found in nature has turned most of humanity into violent, mindless creatures. A young girl named Ellie holds the key to the future, and it falls to a bitter and burned-out man named Joel to safely take her across an America reclaimed by nature and occupied by monsters. Along the way they face many dangers, but none more dangerous than other people.
The story has received numerous awards, including ours for Most Thought Provoking Game. It’s a game that is ripe for a film adaptation, and should lend itself well to the big screen. The developers at Naughty Dog took great pains to make sure the game is at least somewhat realistic. The people Joel and Ellie come across run the gamut from good to horrible, while the creatures remain a constant threat. At its heart though, it’s the story of Joel and Ellie and the bond they form.
No hint of a release date, yet. Once Druckmann finishes work on the script, we may here some potential casting news – just accept that potential news with a grain of salt until filming begins.