‘The Last of Us’: Pedro Pascal had casting backlash over beard

“They’re like, ‘Oh my god, he can’t even have the same beard as Joel in the game,'” showrunner Craig Mazin said of die-hard video game fans.

Pedro Pascal feels the burden of bringing a beloved video game to the big screen.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent and Wonder Woman 1984 alum directs the upcoming HBO Max series The Last of Us, based on the viral game. Pascal plays Joel, the hero tasked with smuggling Tween Ellie (Bella Ramsey) to safety from a quarantine zone across the United States in hopes of finding a cure for the zombie-like plague. Other leading roles are played by Melanie Lynskey, Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett.

The series comes from ‘Chernobyl’ creator Craig Mazin, who revealed that Pascal’s casting was met with backlash from fans. The Last of Us fans have been concerned about Pascal’s ability to grow a full beard, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“You’re laughing, but for some people, that’s a serious deal-breaker for them!” Mazin said. “They’re like, ‘Oh my god, he can’t even have the same beard as Joel in the game.'”

Pascal admitted both he and co-star Ramsey were “terrified of living up to people’s expectations” during a “super-heavy” production that involved long hours and “rough material.”

Ramsey added that fans have dreamed of casting her character for almost a decade and she vowed not to look at social media comments once her casting was announced.

“I’m aware of that,” Ramsey said. “It was really my first experience with a lot of negative reactions.”

Neil Druckmann, creator of The Last of Us game, pointed out the different direction the source material is taking from other zombie apocalypse franchises.

“We wanted to do the opposite of ‘Resident Evil’ – which I love, but it’s so over the top and you’re fighting giant spiders and it’s all about the variety of enemies,” Druckmann said. “What about when it comes to intimate relationships — an exploration of the unconditional love a parent has for their child, and the beautiful things that could come of it, and the really horrible things that could come of it?”

The teaser for the video game adaptation series was released on September 26 in honor of The Last of Us’ official Outbreak Day in the video game, which marks the first case of the infectious (fictional) virus, the Cordyceps fungus. The show will premiere on January 15th.

For full details on The Last of Us, click here.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2023/01/last-of-us-pedro-pascal-casting-backlash-beard-1234795950/ ‘The Last of Us’: Pedro Pascal had casting backlash over beard

Lindsay Lowe

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