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HBO casts 'Game of Thrones' Bella Ramsey as Ellie in 'The Last of Us' series

By Kara Santos Published Feb 10, 2021 10:43 pm

HBO has cast Game of Thrones' breakout star Bella Ramsey in the lead role of Ellie in the highly-anticipated adaptation of the hit video game The Last of Us.

Ramsey, who played Lyanna Mormont, the bad-ass young Lady of Bear Island and head of House Mormont in the War of the Five Kings in GoT, will portray the 14-year old Ellie, an orphan and focal character in The Last of Us franchise.

Based on the video game of the same name, the series takes place twenty years after modern civilization has been destroyed. The story follows Joel, a hardened survivor, who is hired to smuggle Ellie out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal, heartbreaking journey, as they both must traverse across the US and depend on each other for survival.

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, who broke the news of the casting announcement Wednesday (Feb. 10), in the series, Ellie "struggles to balance her instinct for anger and defiance with her need for connection and belonging as well as the newfound reality that she may be the key to saving the world.”

The live action series adaptation is being developed by Craig Mazin, the creator of HBO’s acclaimed limited series Chernobyl.  Mazin wrote the show and is executive producing along with Neil Druckmann, the writer and creative director of the game. The pilot for the project will be helmed by Russian filmmaker Kantemir Balagov, who directed the drama Beanpole.

Druckmann gave his stamp of approval on the casting choice, sharing a link to the THR news report on Twitter with a warm welcome message for the young star: "We're absolutely thrilled to have Bella join the TLoU family!"

Ramsey, now 17, skyrocketed to fame after her fierce portrayal of Lyanna Mormont in the Emmy-winning fantasy drama Game of Thrones on HBO.

In addition to her scene-stealing GoT role, Ramsey has also appeared in the HBO-BBC One series adaptation of His Dark Materials, Holmes & Watson, Judy, and Resistance. Her other TV credits include voicing the lead character in animated series Hilda as well as starring in The Worst Witch.

As previously reported by THR, HBO is aiming for a serious dramatic tone for the adaptation. The rest of the production team includes Carolynn Strauss (Chernobyl) and Carter Swan along with Evan Wells, president of game development studio Naughty Dog, and Asad Qizilbash from PlayStation Productions.

The project is the first television series from PlayStation Productions.

The critically acclaimed The Last of Us video game was originally released on the PlayStation 3 console in 2013 to strong praise from experts and fans alike. Last year the game sold more than 20 million copies in total in addition to having won numerous awards. The sequel, The Last of Us Part II, set five years after the first game, was released in June 2020.

(Images via HBO and Naughty Dog)