When the Friday Comic-Con schedule was announced earlier this month, one of the biggest question marks was a mysterious Hall H panel that didn't release any information about what studio or movie would be presented. Just minutes ago, the Hall H crowd was greeted by none other than Sam Raimi, who arrived to promote his Screen Gems video game adaptation The Last of Us, which may star Bruce Campbell and Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams.
The crowd was shown footage of the video game, with the tag "soon to be a major motion picture" at the end, before Sam Raimi and Neil Druckman from the video game company Naughty Dog hit the stage. Neil Druckman will be writing the script for The Last of Us, which we first reported on back in November, when it was speculated that Sony Pictures picked up the rights to this popular game after a number of web domains hinted that a movie adaptation was coming. It was confirmed in March that Screen Gems, which is based at Sony, has acquired the rights.
When asked why he decided to come to Comic-Con, Sam Raimi had this to say.
"I want to tell people it's coming. I think it's a great project."
The game centers on Joel, a ruthless survivor with few moral lines left to cross, lives in one of the last remaining Quarantine Zones. These walled-off, oppressive cities are run by what's left of the military. Despite the strict martial law, Joel operates in the black market of the city, smuggling contraband for the right price.
The movie will center on Joel and his relationship with Ellie, while the panelists revealed that they have been talking with Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams to play Ellie. Moderator Dalton Ross from Entertainment Weekly suggested that Bruce Campbell play David, while Sam Raimi said that Bruce is his favorite actor. Neil suggested that Bruce Campbell would be right to play Joel. While Sam Raimi isn't sure what role Bruce Campbell may have, he's confident they'll find a place for the actor in The Last of Us.
Writer Neil Druckman said his team at Naughty Dog received two pitches for The Last of Us movie, one from Sam Raimi himself and the other from Screen Gems president Clint Culpepper. Eventually, Screen Gems gave the green light for the movie, and the studio allowed them to write the movie themselves. Neil revealed to the crowd that when he first met with Sam, the filmmaker "really got it," although they were all "geeking out" by meeting the acclaimed director. Sam Raimi also commented that the movie is in the right hands with Neil writing the script, while the panelists revealed they are creating new scenes that will combine their favorite parts of the game.
Sam Raimi confirmed during the Q&A portion of the panel that he will not direct, serving as a producer while helping Neil find the right director. Neil also said that he believes actors should have strong interpretations of characters like Joel, which may not be necessarily faithful to the game, although he doesn't want the movie to be a shoddy imitation of the game.