Friday, March 6, 2020

Videogame “THE LAST OF US” to be MADE into HBO Series

Some people once said that there is a curse lying in the adaptation of videogames to audiovisual media, particularly Hollywood movies. But for every naysayer from at least the 1990s who would point out the examples of “Super Mario Bros.” (1993) or the videogame films directed by Uwe Boll, there are those who would counter with “Mortal Kombat” (1995) and “Tomb Raider” (2001 and the 2018 reboot). Lately however, some observers would opine that the movie videogame curse has ended, at least with last years “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” and the newly-released “Sonic the Hedgehog.” Now, American-produced game adaptation is headed to the small screen too.

The Hollywood Reporter has it that HBO is taking a shot at adapting a videogame, not as a single-showing movie but as a regular series. The announcement was made by the network Thursday, March 5, that they are adapting the third-person survival horror title “The Last of Us,” developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 3 (2013) and 4 (2014). To realize this project, HBO has tapped to be its producer Craig Mazin, who recently wrote and produced the HBO-Sky UK historical drama “Chernobyl,” which won Best Miniseries at the 77th Golden Globe Awards.

Seeing as the game publisher Sony has a TV production division of its own, the proposed “Last of Us” series will be co-produced for HBO by Sony Pictures Television and PlayStation Productions. The latter is a newly-minted film-TV studio under Sony Interactive Entertainment that is geared to adapting Sony-PlayStation videogames, with this being its first series. With that arrangement, “The Last of Us” creative director and game storywriter Neil Druckmann is joining the production posse as executive producer with Naughty Dog president Evan Wells and Carolyn Strauss, the EP for “Chernobyl” and “Game of Thrones.”

Fans of “The Walking Dead” will be right at home with “The Last of Us,” which takes place primarily in a world broken by a mutated fungi infection that turns infected humans into animalistic cannibals. The central characters are Joel, a man who has lost his immediate family with only a brother as his last surviving relative, and Ellie, a young girl who somehow is immune to the bites of the Infected and is being escorted by Joel in the hope that her unique ability can be used to make a cure for the 20-year long infection in the world.

No further details about “The Last of Us” series on HBO has been given, though it is highly likely that the show will adapt and possibly expand the events of the first season. By the time its finale airs the sequel “Last of Us Part II” will have arrived for the PS4 in May, allowing for a follow-up if successful.

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