Playing Ellie In The Last of Us “damn nearly killed me.”
- Updated: August 15, 2012
Actors Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson play the lead characters Joel and Ellie, two people fighting for survival in a world decimated by a fungal pandemic. Ellie is a 14 year old girl who has grown up in this post-apocalyptic nightmare experiencing a far from normal childhood with Joel described by Naughty Dog as a man with no moral line left to cross.
The new footage from the game showed Joel and Ellie breathlessly escaping the clutches of an infected human with the help of a new character called Bill. After handcuffing Ellie to a pipe, which she soon rips of the wall to clatter him with and checking Joel for bites at gunpoint, Bill is clearly struggling to stay alive.
Eventually they persuade him that that they’re clear of any infection and Joel calls in a favour from Bill as they need a car. The only problem is where do they find the parts to build/repair one amongst the infected city…
I asked Troy and Ashley if there were any scenes in the game that they found especially difficult to act.
Troy Baker: I have two. Interestingly enough one of them was a scene between Ashley and I that was a really meaningful scene; it was a turning point in the story. Normally we’ll shoot once to work it out. Second one, really, really good and the third shoot, that’s our goal. We may do one more if we’re feeling nasty or whatever. We never really go above that. But this one scene we went – 5th, 6th, 7th take. It was good but it wasn’t there yet and we knew how important this scene was. I think I got in my head “this is really important, you’ve really got to sell this moment.” I was trying so hard and I got really frustrated.
While I was sitting off in the corner and Neil Druckmann [writer] comes over to me and asks “What do you need, man?” I say “I think I need 5 mins” and Neil says “ok, then take 10.” While I was sitting outside and I had this epiphany that the scene was important enough; it was meaningful enough. It didn’t need me to add anything to it and I walked back in [to the studio] a man on a mission. We shot it and boom, that was it and completely different to anyway we’d done it before and it was awesome!
The other scene that was similar to that was one in which I had absolutely nothing to do. I was a pedestrian in this scene. Bill was driving all of it. I felt completely lost. Completely lost. I don’t think I even had a line. I just had to walk around. I was like, I have no idea what I’m doing in this. It was this huge moment as an actor as it was incredibly challenging because what do you do when you have nothing to do?
Ashley Johnson: I’ve definitely had a few. That was one of them was the first one that Troy mentioned. We both kind of walked away and then came back and it was a whole different thing.
The second one was in a sequence that will happen the game and [pauses] you guys will know it when it comes up. There were a couple of days when we shot it and it damn near killed me. Because of some experiences that I’ve had and trying not to, you know, to lose my mind and go crazy on set where everybody is like “oh my God, Ashley is so nuts.” It was super intense, I mean I can’t [sigh]. I hope that when you guys play it you will enjoy it.
Yeah, there have been a lot [of scenes] that have been super crazy in the mental department!
The Last of Us will be released in 2013 for PlayStation 3.