‘The Last of Us’ star Pedro Pascal says he’s keeping a ‘healthy distance’ from the game Joel

The Last of Us on HBO
Image via The Last of Us/IMDb

Pedro Pascal is currently basking in the overwhelming acclaim for his new comedy action film The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, but don’t let the lighthearted cinematic fun trick you into thinking that The Mandalorian star can’t brood as somberly as Joel Miller for the upcoming live-action adaptation of The Last of Us by HBO.

While no one could question Pascal’s acting chops, he might be at a disadvantage for his post-apocalyptic role because he never got to experience the game properly. When The Last of Us came up in a recent GQ interview, Pascal said:

“Did you play the game? It’s so sad, I haven’t any skill. I tried, you know. And then it was only a matter of minutes before I had to hand it over to my nephew. It really takes a specific kind of skill, and I don’t have it.”

Now, before you get your knickers in a knot, note that Pascal doesn’t need to see Joel to be able to portray him seamlessly. He already has the best guide in the world in the form of Neil Druckmann, who created the character and knows him better than everyone else.

The actor further explained that he tries to keep a “healthy distance” from the protagonist so as to not imitate him for the show.

“I watched for as long as I was able to that day, and then I had to leave Florida. I found Joel so impressive — I found the whole of it such a visually impressive experience. And then I got worried that I would want to imitate too much, which I think could be right in some circumstances, and then a mistake in others. So I just wanted to create a healthy distance, and for that to be more in the hands of [show co-writer] Craig Mazin and [game writer/director and show writer] Neil Druckmann.”

There’s no denying that Troy Baker (Joel’s voice actor in the games) is an exceptionally tough act to follow, but there was always going to be a degree of discrepancy between the source material and the live-action adaptation. We’re just glad that a talented actor of Pascal’s aptitude is filling this void, which I’m sure you’ll agree is more than any of us diehard fans could ask for.

The Last of Us is expected to air sometime in 2023 on HBO.