Comic-Con: Sam Raimi, Neil Druckmann surprise with ‘Last of Us’ panel

July 25, 2014 | 1:27 p.m.
lastofus Comic Con: Sam Raimi, Neil Druckmann surprise with Last of Us panel

"The Last of Us" creative director Neil Druckmann. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

With “The Last of Us,” Naughty Dog craftsman Neil Druckmann helped create one of the most emotionally affecting survival games ever released.

Now, as he writes the script for Screen Gems’ upcoming big screen adaptation of “The Last of Us,” he’s endeavoring to make the first truly great video game movie.

Druckmann and filmmaker Sam Raimi, who will produce the film through his Ghost House Pictures banner, surprised the Hall H crowd at Comic-Con International in San Diego on Friday morning with a presentation devoted to the project, which is still in its nascent stages, hoping to stoke fan excitement for its upcoming adaptation of the apocalyptic survival game.

Sam Raimi attends "The Last of Us" sneak peek panel on Day 2 of Comic-Con International  on Friday, July 25, 2014, in San Diego. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Sam Raimi attends “The Last of Us” sneak peek panel on Day 2 of Comic-Con International on Friday, July 25, 2014, in San Diego. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

“The Last of Us” was one of the most widely lauded games of 2013. The story tracks Joel, who is hired to smuggle a 14-year-old girl, Ellie, out of a quarantine zone, but their personalities clash as they traverse the once-familiar terrain of Boston, which has become all plant life and crumbling buildings in the wake of an infection that has decimated the human populace.

The intimate character moments between the two leads was one of the things that hooked Raimi, who described himself as a gamer when addressing the audience, and he also stressed that a “Last of Us” movie would closely hew to the game.

“It doesn’t need to be different,” Raimi said. “It just needs to capture the core of what made ‘The Last of Us’ special to so many fans.”

Both Druckmann and Raimi promised a “laser focus” on Joel and Ellie’s relationship in “The Last of Us.” Although the film has yet to be cast and a director yet to be hired, Druckmann mentioned that he had met with “Game of Thrones” actress Maisie Williams, who plays the headstrong Arya Stark on the HBO fantasy, about the role of Ellie.

Raimi, a favorite among the Comic-Con set for his “Evil Dead” movies and his “Spider-Man” trilogy, said at the panel that he was currently at work on an “Evil Dead” TV show, though he shared few details about that project.

At the end of the Hall H session, Raimi received an Inkpot Award, celebrating his many contributions to the “popular arts.” The surprised director exclaimed “What the heck?” before accepting the prize with by saying, he was “honored to be a fan and be one of you guys.”

Click through the gallery above for a detailed look at “The Last of Us” game.

– Gina McIntyre

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex

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Comments


One Response to Comic-Con: Sam Raimi, Neil Druckmann surprise with ‘Last of Us’ panel

  1. Nick says:

    I am a major fan of The Last of Us, and consider it to have one of if not the best stories in games ever. I also love Maisie Williams, who I believe is an extremely talented new actress, and Arya Stark is my favorite character in Game of Thrones.

    However, I really, really don't want to see her in this role playing Ellie. Maybe my perception of Ellie is skewed because of the game (seeing Ellie represented for so long the way she was in the game), but I just can't see Maisie representing Ellie the way I can imagine her. I think most of it may be her voice, which I think is more "kiddy" than Ellie's was in the game.

    Again, my perception may be skewed. And I have been terribly wrong about castings in the past, so I guess we will wait and see. Best of luck to both Druckmann in the creation of the TLOU movie and Maisie Williams in her acting career.

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