The premiere of the series of The Last of Us on HBO is making millions of people fall in love around the world. At the level of specialized critics and the public, it is enchanting, something that also translates into numbers: the series based on the Naughty Dog video game has had the second best premiere in the history of the platform, only behind La casa del dragón.
Within fiction, there are two actors who are going to be the most relevant of all: Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. Both play Joel and Ellie respectively, the protagonists of the video game. We already know too much about Pascal, especially thanks to the fame achieved with Narcos and, especially, with The Mandalorian. However, with Bella Ramsey a new star is being created that The Last of Us can catapult to the top.
A native of the United Kingdom, Ramsey is only 19 years old at the moment (he doesn’t turn 20 until September 30). Her leap to popularity took place in 2016, when she played Lyanna Mormont for 9 episodes in Game of Thrones. At just 13 years old, the British woman left a good legacy in the HBO series and it is surely her most remembered role of all; but not the only one, since he has also been present in The Worst Witch or Hilda, as the most outstanding television fictions.
The Last of Us series crew saw over 100 auditions for the role of Ellie, with women ranging from as young as 9 to early 20s. They took into account a multitude of details, but the most relevant was that it reflected the Ellie of the game, an intelligent, funny and very scathing girl, at the same time as scary and fearful. When the Bella Ramsey tape appeared before them, Craig Mazin, creator of the series, exclaimed a: “Oh fuck, it’s Lady Mormont“.
Here comes into play, never better said, a very curious aspect, which is that Mazin is a big fan of Game of Thrones. He says that he had to repress his instincts to get the actress at first when he saw who she was, that what really matters is that she was a good Ellie and had chemistry with Pedro Pascal. That’s when he hit “play” on the casting video: “I was so scared, I knew they weren’t going to see what I saw. In my mind I thought that if we didn’t cast Bella as Ellie, I would go to my grave knowing that we could have done a better show than what we did.
Clear, sharp and concise. Mazin saw Ramsey as Ellie the first time. After watching the opening episode, there is no doubt that the British actress nails the character of the game. It’s her. Mazin and Druckmann met via video call with Ramsey. They were talking about the role and asked her some main phrases of Ellie, like the so famous “Motherfucker“. He did it and it turned out the same. Ramsey signed.
The toxicity of networks
The Last of Us is a saga that has sold a whopping more than 30 million copies with only two deliveries. It’s known to just about anyone who plays video games; even if they have not had access to the title or own the console where it is played, The Last of Us is as popular as Final Fantasy, Mario, Metal Gear Solid or Halo; in fact, until the arrival of Elden Ring, its second installment was the one that had received the most awards in the entire history of the video game.
If we make this introduction, it is for a reason: the more people know you, the more passions any announcement that is made will raise. And with the series it was not going to be less. Although with Pedro Pascal there were timid critics who went more for his origin than for being able to interpret Joel himself -Pascal is Chilean, which shows that it was more a matter of xenophobia than of interpretive role-, with Bella Ramsey social networks were extremely hard.
“This is the first time I’ve ever had a negative reaction to anything”, confessed the actress in an interview with the New York Times. As she revealed, she herself was afraid of having accepted this role because she was not up to the task, to such an extent that she thought “that maybe it was a bad idea” playing Ellie. “It took me a long time to accept that I was Ellie, that I could be her, and that I was a good fit. It took me a long time, even after I finished filming”he said to Elle.
For the players, Ellie is Ashley Johnson, the actress who provides voice and movement in the video game. Leaving that association is complicated -and it is logical-, but there was not a vote of confidence at first. The criticisms also went for purely superficial aspects, such as that they did not look alike or that the actress “she was ugly”. a real nonsense.
Luckily for everyone, Bella Ramsey only needed a few minutes of the first episode to shut up. And how did you close them, huh?