‘The Last of Us’ crew were ‘banned’ from using one word on set

vt-author-image

By Phoebe Egoroff

Article saved!Article saved!

HBO Max's latest series The Last of Us may have a postapocalyptic theme but it's most definitely not a zombie show - at least, that's what the cast and crew want to reinforce.

Based on a video game of the same name, the show centers around a people smuggler (played by Narcos' and Game of Thrones' Pedro Pascal) who is tasked with transporting a teenage girl (Bella Ramsey, also from Game of Thrones) across the United States, as she is believed to be immune from a fungal infection that wiped out civilization two decades earlier.

It's been met with rave reviews so far, with critics like Marc Burrows from New Statesman commending the series for its "humanity", writing: "What sets The Last of Us apart from other TV dystopias is its humanity. This isn't the usual every-man-for-himself post-zombie outbreak set up. This a shattered world, but a recognizable one: in the wake of disaster, mankind has turned on itself."

With gnarly, fungal creatures terrorizing the remaining survivors, the show's creators want us all to remember it's not another zombie apocalypse storyline.

Check out this trailer for The Last of Us:

In fact, they were so adamant about this that the word "zombie" was reportedly banned on set.

Eben Bolter, the cinematographer who worked on four episodes of the dystopian series' 10-episode first season, told The Credits that referring to zombies or the brain-eating undead was strictly forbidden on the set. For those who are unaware, the zombie-like monsters in The Last of Us universe have been infected with brain-eating fungus that slowly takes over their bodies.

"We weren't allowed to say the Z word on set," Bolter revealed. "It was like a banned word. They were the Infected. We weren't a zombie show. Of course, there's tension building and jump scares, but the show's really about our characters; The Infected are an obstacle they have to deal with."

"There's a lot of things The Last of Us is not," the cinematographer noted earlier in the interview. "It's not a cliché zombie movie, it's not Hollywood backlit where everyone's close-up is perfect. It's a world of organic cinematic naturalism, and that's something I could just feel."

Aside from the z-word confusion, the show has received criticism from fans who seem to believe that 19-year-old Ramsey - who depicts one of the show's main characters - is not the right fit for the role. Ramsey - who recently came out as non-binary - has been open about how the trolling has affected her.

wp-image-1263189468 size-full
Bella Ramsey has received trolling from fans of the video game adaptation. Credit: The Canadian Press / Alamy

"It's the first time I've ever had a negative reaction to something," she stated, adding: "There would be times I'd find it funny. Then I'd get to the end of a 10-minute scrolling session, put my phone down and realize: Maybe that was a bad idea [...] It's only recently that I've accepted I am Ellie, and I can do it, and I am a good actor," Ramsey - who portrayed Lady Mormont in Game of Thrones - said. "But this will last for a few weeks and then I'll think I'm terrible again. That's just the process."

The show's creators, Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin, evidently disagreed with what the haters had to say, with Druckmann telling The New York Times that he was amazed with how well Ramsey performed in her audition. "We were looking for a specific combination of contradictions: Someone that can be funny and quirky, and violent and rough. I didn't see Bella acting like Ellie - I saw Ellie," he recalled.

Featured image credit: LANDMARK MEDIA / Alamy

‘The Last of Us’ crew were ‘banned’ from using one word on set

vt-author-image

By Phoebe Egoroff

Article saved!Article saved!

HBO Max's latest series The Last of Us may have a postapocalyptic theme but it's most definitely not a zombie show - at least, that's what the cast and crew want to reinforce.

Based on a video game of the same name, the show centers around a people smuggler (played by Narcos' and Game of Thrones' Pedro Pascal) who is tasked with transporting a teenage girl (Bella Ramsey, also from Game of Thrones) across the United States, as she is believed to be immune from a fungal infection that wiped out civilization two decades earlier.

It's been met with rave reviews so far, with critics like Marc Burrows from New Statesman commending the series for its "humanity", writing: "What sets The Last of Us apart from other TV dystopias is its humanity. This isn't the usual every-man-for-himself post-zombie outbreak set up. This a shattered world, but a recognizable one: in the wake of disaster, mankind has turned on itself."

With gnarly, fungal creatures terrorizing the remaining survivors, the show's creators want us all to remember it's not another zombie apocalypse storyline.

Check out this trailer for The Last of Us:

In fact, they were so adamant about this that the word "zombie" was reportedly banned on set.

Eben Bolter, the cinematographer who worked on four episodes of the dystopian series' 10-episode first season, told The Credits that referring to zombies or the brain-eating undead was strictly forbidden on the set. For those who are unaware, the zombie-like monsters in The Last of Us universe have been infected with brain-eating fungus that slowly takes over their bodies.

"We weren't allowed to say the Z word on set," Bolter revealed. "It was like a banned word. They were the Infected. We weren't a zombie show. Of course, there's tension building and jump scares, but the show's really about our characters; The Infected are an obstacle they have to deal with."

"There's a lot of things The Last of Us is not," the cinematographer noted earlier in the interview. "It's not a cliché zombie movie, it's not Hollywood backlit where everyone's close-up is perfect. It's a world of organic cinematic naturalism, and that's something I could just feel."

Aside from the z-word confusion, the show has received criticism from fans who seem to believe that 19-year-old Ramsey - who depicts one of the show's main characters - is not the right fit for the role. Ramsey - who recently came out as non-binary - has been open about how the trolling has affected her.

wp-image-1263189468 size-full
Bella Ramsey has received trolling from fans of the video game adaptation. Credit: The Canadian Press / Alamy

"It's the first time I've ever had a negative reaction to something," she stated, adding: "There would be times I'd find it funny. Then I'd get to the end of a 10-minute scrolling session, put my phone down and realize: Maybe that was a bad idea [...] It's only recently that I've accepted I am Ellie, and I can do it, and I am a good actor," Ramsey - who portrayed Lady Mormont in Game of Thrones - said. "But this will last for a few weeks and then I'll think I'm terrible again. That's just the process."

The show's creators, Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin, evidently disagreed with what the haters had to say, with Druckmann telling The New York Times that he was amazed with how well Ramsey performed in her audition. "We were looking for a specific combination of contradictions: Someone that can be funny and quirky, and violent and rough. I didn't see Bella acting like Ellie - I saw Ellie," he recalled.

Featured image credit: LANDMARK MEDIA / Alamy