WTF: The Last of Us Show's Ellie Was Told Not To Play The Game

In the HBO adaptation of The Last of Us, Bella Ramsey has been cast as Ellie. And she was told not to play the game? Why?

Joel and Ellie crouching behind a cupboard
Bella Ramsay plays Ellie in The Last of Us... without having played the games? | © HBO

The Last of Us is finally getting its much-anticipated HBO show next year. We're pretty excited and the first trailer looked really good. But some things about the show are also confusing. Like this new detail about Bella Ramsey, who plays Ellie in the show, that was just revealed: apparently she was told not to play the game before doing the show. What. Why? What's going on here?

Ellie's Actress Was "Encouraged" Not To Play The Last of Us

In a recent interview with USA Today, Bella Ramsey, who rose to fame after her performance as Lyanna Mormont in Game of Thrones, talked about the process of playing Ellie in the show. Here's what she said, when she was asked whether she played the games:

I was actually encouraged not to. After my first audition, they asked me, "Have you played it?" And I said "nope," and they said, "Keep it that way." (Laughs.) I did watch some of the gameplay on YouTube just to get a sense of it.

So... that's kind of weird, right? Shouldn't she be encouraged to do the opposite and get familiar with the role? Maybe, but it could actually make sense, depending on what the show is going for. Ashley Johnson's performance as Ellie in The Last of Us Part 1 and 2 is so strong and iconic, the show couldn't possibly try to emulate that. It would fail hard and fall on its nose. I assume, and this would probably be the best course, that the show will try to create its own interpretations of the characters.

Also, series creator Neil Druckmann was heavily involved in the making of the adaptation. So whatever they are cooking over there, you can expect it to not just be really good, but be faithful and in line with the original story from the games.

The remake of the original The Last of Us is finally coming to PC. Here's everything you need to know: