For a certain period of time, it looked like the adaptation of Naughty Dog's hit video game The Last of Us was moving forward quickly to production. There were rumors that both Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams and Bruce Campbell were being courted to star, with Sam Raimi set to produce through his Ghost House Pictures company. Then we reported in April that the project has slid into "development hell," and now we have a bit more insight as to why that happened.
Sam Raimi first announced the project at Comic-Con 2014, where the producer even released the first poster. Sam Raimi was set to produce and co-write the screenplay with Neil Druckmann from Naughty Dog, who directed the video game itself. IGN caught up with Sam Raimi at an event for his thriller Don't Breathe, where he added some insight as to why the film still isn't happening. Here's what he had to say below.
"Well, unfortunately that one -- when we went to Neil with Ghost House Pictures we were hoping to get the rights like we do any project and then we'd take it out and sell it but we'd control the rights. With this one he went to Sony -- who I have a very good relationship with -- but they have their own plans for it and I think Neil's plan for it -- I'm not trying to be political -- Neil's plan for it is not the same as Sony's. And because my company doesn't have the rights, I actually can't help him too much. Even though I'm one of the producers on it the way he set it up, he sold his rights to Sony, Sony hired me as a producer by chance, and I can't get the rights free for him so I'm not in the driver's seat and I can't tell you what Sony and Neil together will decide on. If they do move forward I'd love to help them again."
After Maisie Williams was first mentioned to play Ellie, the actress revealed that she is actually interested in taking on the role. Not much else is known about the project at this time, but Neil Druckmann teased last year that big changes will be made from the game. When asked if he is still officially attached to the project, Sam Raimi had this to say.
"Yes, I'm attached to it. I'm not too sure what that means. Right now it's just sitting there. They don't want to move forward, and it's not my place to say why, and Neil, I think, is in a slight disagreement with them about how things should go so there's a standstill. And I don't have the power to move it."
The Last of Us video game follows Joel, a ruthless survivor with few moral lines left to cross, who 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. Joel is asked by a dying friend to look after Ellie, a fourteen-year-old girl with courage beyond her years. What starts out as a simple job to deliver Ellie to another Quarantine Zone, soon transforms into a profound journey that will forever change Joel and Ellie. As they trek across a post-pandemic United States, Joel and Ellie will encounter different factions of survivors that have each found a unique way of dealing with the infected humans, the lack of supplies, and the threat of other survivors. As Joel and Ellie struggle to persevere, they must learn to trust each other and work together in order to survive the realities of this new world. At its core, The Last of Us is about the bond that forms between Joel and Ellie - it is the story of love, loyalty, and redemption.