The Last Of Us Ellie Actor Reflects On Initial Casting Backlash

The Last Of Us star Bella Ramsey, who portrays Ellie in the highly anticipated HBO adaptation, reflects on the harsh backlash to her initial casting.

The Last of Us star Bella Ramsey reflects on the initial backlash to her casting. The actor stars as Ellie, the 14-year-old orphan at the center of the upcoming HBO television series. Based on the original PlayStation 3 video game of the same name, The Last of Us follows rugged survivor Joel Miller (Pedro Pascal) as he escorts Ellie through a zombie-infested United States to a militant revolutionary faction known as the Fireflies. The idealistic group believes Ellie holds the key that might save the world.


In an interview with The New York Times, Ramsey reflects on her reaction to the initial backlash following her casting in The Last of Us. The actor admits she was originally upset by the negative fan feedback, with it even causing her to doubt the casting choice. Read what Ramsey says below:

It’s the first time I’ve ever had a negative reaction to something. 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, but this will last for a few weeks and then I’ll think I’m terrible again. That’s just the process.

Related: The Last Of Us’ Casting Backlash Is Ridiculous

The Last Of Us Casting Backlash Explained

Bella Ramsey as Ellie Last of Us

Following both Ramsey and Pascal’s casting as Ellie and Joel respectively, a portion of the fanbase took to social media to air their grievances about the show’s choices. The main complaints were aimed at Ramsey’s appearance, bearing only a passing resemblance to her video game counterpart, and at Pascal’s Latino ethnicity. Pascal recently admitted that he was even shocked to see some fans complaining about his inability to grow a full beard, one of Joel’s notable physical traits. Gabriel Luna, who portrays Joel’s younger brother Tommy, and Nico Parker, who plays Joel’s daughter Sarah, also received significant backlash due to the actors’ differing ethnicities from the original characters.

Such harsh reactions to adaptations of popular established media have become expected, with certain fans expecting a near 1:1 recreation of the original source material. When an adaptation deviates from what came before, a portion of the fanbase will likely react negatively. The Last of Us casting backlash has recently been renewed with the announcement of True Blood star Rutina Wesley as Maria, the leader of the Jackson, Wyoming survivor community. Certain fans took issue with the decision to race-swap the character, as Maria is white in the video games and Wesley is black. However, The Last of Us series co-creator Craig Mazin has previously attempted to assure fans that the actors’ performances get to the essence of their video game counterparts, truly honoring the work of the original actors.

How The Conversation Surrounding The Last Of Us’ Casting Has Changed

The Last of Us Ellie played by Bella Ramsey

Although certain parts of the fanbase still doubt Ramsey and Pascal, the release of trailers and near-universal critical reception have calmed many fans’ fears regarding the HBO adaptation. The Last of Us‘ Rotten Tomatoes score is Certified Fresh at an impressively high 97%, driving hype and expectations to an all-time high. With The Last of Us set to premiere on Sunday, audiences can finally see how Ramsey and Pascal bring Ellie and Joel to life.

More: Last Of Us’ Ellie Promise Proves The Show Can Avoid An Adaptation Curse

Source: NYT

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