‘The Last of Us’: Lauded Naughty Dog title headed for big screen

March 06, 2014 | 11:45 a.m.
lastofus The Last of Us: Lauded Naughty Dog title headed for big screen

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

First it was one of the most acclaimed video games released last year. Now the zombie-themed “The Last of Us” is set to make the leap to the big screen.

Screen Gems announced Thursday its plan to distribute a new film based on the PlayStation 3 title developed by Naughty Dog. “The Last of Us” creative director Neil Druckmann will write the script for the movie, which he’ll also produce along with game director Bruce Straley, Screen Gems executives Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra and filmmaker Sam Raimi under his Ghost House Pictures banner.

Set in a post-apocalyptic environment, “The Last of Us” visits decimated cities where a fungus has transformed the population into zombies. Twenty years after the outbreak, smuggler Joel is hired to protect 14-year-old Ellie and escort her across the dangerous wasteland. On the journey, the two form a powerful emotional bond.

Druckmann and Straley have cited the 2007 drama “No Country for Old Men” as primary inspiration for the game, which also features a mournful score from Oscar-winner Gustavo Santaolalla (“Brokeback Mountain”).

With its strong emphasis on character, “The Last of Us” won over critics, becoming one of the most lauded games of last year.

It took home 10 prizes at this year’s Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences D.I.C.E. Awards, where it was named game of the year and won for outstanding innovation in gaming and character performance. “The Last of Us” also won a Writers Guild of America award for outstanding achievement in writing for video games, and it leads nominations for the British Academy of Film and Television Video Game (BAFTA) Awards with 10.

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

– Gina McIntyre and Todd Martens | @LATHeroComplex

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