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SYFY WIRE The Last of Us

From ‘Fringe’ to the post-apocalypse: Anna Torv smuggles aboard ‘The Last of Us’ at HBO

By Benjamin Bullard
Anna Torv

From a parallel universe to a post-pandemic apocalypse: Anna Torv’s newest casting move will probably delight Fringe fans who’ve long hoped to see her in another big genre role, because she’s getting set to saddle up alongside Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as the newest addition to HBO’s upcoming series based on The Last of Us.

Via Variety, Torv is boarding the Craig Mazin-led series in a recurring guest role as Tess, the tough-as-nails smuggler and Boston-based black market business partner of Joel (who’ll be played by Pascal in the series) in Naughty Dog’s original 2013 video game. In the game, Tess ended up sacrificing herself to assure that Joel and Ellie (played at HBO by Ramsey) would escape to a rendezvous so that Ellie — the only person known to be immune from the world-wrecking pandemic — could end up under the protection of Joel’s brother Tommy.

Though Torv won plenty of new followers at Netflix for her performance as FBI psychologist Wendy Carr in Mindhunter, she’s remained inseparable, in the minds of sci-fi fans, from her five-season stint as FBI agent Olivia Dunham on Fox’s Fringe (yep, Torv definitely knows a thing or two about playing FBI characters by now.)

Fringe, of course, has retained a loyal cult following for its absorbing, X-Files style pursuit of phenomena unexplained and otherwise — but it aired its last episode all the way back in 2013, which means it’s been more than a minute since genre lovers have been treated to Torv in the kind of out-there role that lives somewhere beyond the limits of mundane reality.

Mazin and series co-developer Neil Druckmann — Naughty Dog’s current studio co-president and creator the original game — haven’t spilled too many details on how the HBO series will adapt the finer story points from the game and its blockbuster sequel, last year’s The Last of Us Part II. But most of the already-announced casting moves (including Torv’s) point to a series that’ll carry over many of the characters from their PlayStation predecessors. And Mazin, who already holds an Outstanding Writing Emmy for HBO’s Chenobyl, is on record saying The Last of Us at HBO will steer clear of “episodic nonsense” in favor of a story that’s “curated” in “serious ways that I think fans of the game and newcomers alike will appreciate.”

Starring Pascal, Ramsey, Torv, along with Gabriel Luna, Merle Dandrige, Nico Parker, Murray Bartlet, Con O’Neill, and Jeffery Pierce, HBO’s series adaptation of The Last of Us starts filming in Canada this month, ahead of an aniticipated premiere sometime next year.