‘The Last of Us’ star stabbed herself more than once trying to perfect a nifty knife trick

Ellie and Joel from The Last of Us
Image via Naughty Dog

Just four days left until The Last of Us premieres on HBO and fans of the PlayStation exclusive can hardly wait. In 2013, game developers Naughty Dog released The Last of Us, a post-apocalyptic drama following Joel, a smuggler, and Ellie, a brash and overbearing yet infinitely special teenager. With America on the brink of collapse after the outbreak of a parasitic fungal infection, Joel finds out that Ellie is immune, therefore he must transport her across the States to be delivered to the Fireflies, a resistance group hoping to find a cure.

The series, which draws inspiration from Naughty Dog’s video game franchise, stars Game of Thrones alumni Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as Joel and Ellie, respectively. Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker — the original Ellie and Joel — will also co-star in minor roles. As we’re aware, Ellie is a force to be reckoned with. That’s a statement made more apparent in The Last of Us: Part II, where she takes on Abby, a former solider who’s three times her size. Ellie’s also handy with a switchblade, plus firearms, grenades, axes, and even her bare hands. She’s hardened by a life of tribulation and that makes her a deadly threat.

That being said, Bella Ramsey — who isn’t quite as rough and ready as her counterpart — doesn’t have the same skills as Ellie. It’s no big shock that Ellie has some tricks up her sleeve, even those that are meant to impress more so than protect. As for Ramsey, she couldn’t quite master a pesky knife trick, which we haven’t seen Ellie exhibit yet in any trailers, but we’re taking Collider‘s word for it, considering Ramsey was more than eager to discuss the specific scene. When asked how long it took to perfect that little doozy, Ramsey replied:

“I stabbed myself, a couple of times. Thankfully, we had a dummy knife, so it wasn’t actually sharp. It was rubber. But I didn’t start training for that as soon as I should have done. I did it on the day I was aware that I had to do this thing. I was like, ‘Oh, I should have practiced this.’ But it was fine. That’s where editing comes in handy. I didn’t have to be very good at it. I just had to do it a couple of times, and they could loop it, or something. It was pretty fun. I quite enjoyed that. But I don’t think it’s a skill that I’ve continued to possess. It came for the day, and then it ran away again pretty quickly.”

There’s a lot riding on Pascal and Ramsey’s performances. Long-time gamers are already familiar with The Last of Us and know how it ends, so it’s up to the Game of Thrones veterans to make us feel more connected to these characters than ever before. We know the story, but we don’t know them — and that’s what showrunner Craig Mazin must be hedging his bets on. If they manage to make us somehow more attached to Joel and Ellie than we already are, that’s more than enough to compensate for a recycled story. Luckily, we don’t have much longer to wait.

The Last of Us begins streaming on January 15 on HBO Max.