Considering it has one of the strongest narratives of any video game of the past decade, the film adaptation of “The Last of Us” faces the challenge of compressing the game’s fifteen hour storyline into a two hour film and yet must try to be just as much of an emotional punch to the gut.
Neil Druckmann, the writer and creative director on the original video game, also serves as the film’s screenwriter. Recently chatting with MCVUK, Druckmann admits that the story has had to undergo an overhaul in order to meet the demands of the film:
“In two hours you can’t tell the same kind of story that you can in a game like The Last of Us, which is 15 hours. I’m in the middle of it now, and it’s been super difficult because there’s so much that happens in The Last of Us, even just in the cinematics, that can’t fit in a film, let alone all the gameplay in-between and dialogue.”
The movie is still expected to revolve around the core relationship between its two heroes, Joel and Ellie. The storyline surrounding them though could be significantly different says Druckmann:
“It almost has this novel quality as far as how much content there is. And a film works really well when it’s laser-focused, so the first part of it was like: well, what is this story really about? It’s clearly about Joel and Ellie. What are the most important beats that we can’t lose? Start with those, and cut everything else out.
It’s been really difficult to cut certain things out, but what I’m starting to get this is really focused narrative that’s about these two characters. Some parts will be similar to the game and some parts will be quite different, but it’s kind of interesting in helping me understand this other medium and its strengths compared to video games.”
Sam Raimi is set to produce the film which is still in early development.