What does a TV writer do after previously rocking the pop culture landscape with a riveting dissection of the Chernobyl disaster? Find a new disaster. That's what Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin is attempting to do by adapting The Last of Us — Naughty Dog's hit post-apocalyptic two-hander video game — for HBO.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the PlayStation game's writer and creative director, Neil Druckmann (also behind the company's soon-to-be-adapted Uncharted series), will work with Mazin to write the script and executive produce the series.
The game, which sees gruff survivor Joel and snarky teen Ellie team up to survive a pandemic-transformed reality, is already like The Walking Dead meets Chernobyl, so this creative pairing seems like a perfect tonal fit. The fungal monsters walking this world aren't quite zombies, but the world has still been pushed to its limits. That means struggle, violence, and a search for a cure — to which Ellie may be vitally important.
Mazin — no stranger to genre work, having written two of the Scary Movie films, The Huntsman: Winter's War, and the upcoming Cowboy Ninja Viking — is also a fan of the game. "Neil Druckmann is without question the finest storyteller working in the video game medium, and The Last of Us is his magnum opus. Getting a chance to adapt this breathtaking work of art has been a dream of mine for years, and I’m so honored to do it in partnership with Neil."
The series intends to adapt the entire first game, with the second game (the upcoming The Last of Us Part II, coming May 29) being adapted down the road, if all goes according to plan. The first game starred Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson as Joel and Ellie, in both voice and motion-captured performance, while supplemental expansion The Last of Us: Left Behind added additional backstory for Ellie with a flashback to her time surviving with her friend Riley (Yaani King).
There is not yet a timeline in place for the show, which will be the first from PlayStation Productions.