The more that comes out of the HBO adaptation of the video game The Last of Us, the more exciting this project sounds. The game and its sequel are landmarks for video games, telling moving and serious stories in a way any movie would be jealous. Now the television series is not only shown and written by Craig Mazin with Neil Druckmann, but the pilot now has a top notch director. Who could you ask? Well, none other than Kantemir Balagov, the filmmaker who showed up with Beanpole. As a young offspring, this is a sure sign that HBO has high hopes for this show. Read on for more …
Here’s a bit of the story in The Hollywood Reporter:
HBO’s The Last of Us has found a new director.
Russian filmmaker Kantemir Balagov, the Cannes darling behind the drama Beanpole, has been selected to direct the adaptation of the hit video game.
Craig Mazin, creator of HBO’s acclaimed limited edition series Chernobyl, writes and produces with Neil Druckmann, the game’s writer and creative director.
The project initially looked like Mazin was going to reunite with its Chernobyl director Johan Renck, but Renck had to quit because of a planning conflict.
Set 20 years after the destruction of modern civilization, Last of Us focuses on the relationship between Joel, a smuggler in this new world, and Ellie, a teenager who may hold the key to curing a deadly pandemic. Joel, a die-hard survivor, is hired to smuggle the 14-year-old girl out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts out as a small job soon turns into a brutal, heartbreaking journey as they cross the US and depend on each other for survival.
The series is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television. PlayStation Productions, Word Games, The Mighty Mint and Naughty Dog produce. Carolyn Strauss, Evan Wells from Naughty Dog and Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan from PlayStation Productions are also producing.
The Balagov and Last of Us wedding shows that HBO is aiming for a seriously dramatic tone for the adaptation.
A native of Circassia, Balagov is best known for directing the somber Russian-language dramas Closeness and Beanpole. The closeness to a poor family in a small town engaged in kidnapping was well received on her debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017, which led to Balagov winning the festival’s FIPRESCI award in the Un Certain Regard competition won.
Beanpole told of the winding and dark relationship between two women after the siege of Leningrad by World War II. The 2019 film won Balagov the Un Certain Regard Award for Best Director and his second FIPRESCI award. The film was also selected as Russia’s entry in the “Best International Feature Film” category for the 2020 Academy Awards.
Stay tuned to learn more about The Last of Us …