The Last of Us is widely considered one of the greatest video games ever made, with its intense story of one man, Joel, helping Ellie travel across America to a place where she could hold the answer to a zombie outbreak that has destroyed most of the population. Now, Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin has been given the chance to bring the video game to life, which is perfect for the story, with the biggest question being who will play Joel and Ellie?
The background on the character of Joel is that his daughter is killed during the first outbreak as he is looking for safety, leaving him a broken man; 20 years later he works with Tess to survive, until they meet Ellie and get asked to escort her across America, as she could hold the cure to the disease since she’s immune to it. Joel forms a parental relationship with Ellie that could easily be used to fill the void of losing his own daughter, while Ellie has her own backstory to how she got bitten in the first place.
I won’t be only picking the clear choice here either; this is a character that needs their actions to be their motivation over just the look of the video game.
Who Could Be Joel?
Idris Elba needs another chance in a leading role in much-loved source material, after the true disaster of The Dark Tower, where might well have been right for that role but didn’t get a chance to show it. Idris would be an excellent choice for this leading role, because you could easily imagine him delivering some of the more iconic lines in the game; he would be able to play the father who lost everything and the one to pick to have the best relationship with Ellie, in the new father figure role.
Josh Duhamel has fought next to Transformers in the past. He was a born leader in this franchise (well, as much as a human character could be) and he has carved out a career where he could be a moody figure when needed, somebody who could fight with ease and could charm with ease. He might be the weakest of the picks on the list, but he does feel like he could well be one that brings something different to the role.
Karl Urban has stepped into many popular roles, be it Bones in Star Trek, Eomer in the Lord of the Rings franchise or Dredd where he was willing to remain masked for the whole film. He became Billy Butcher in The Boys, which was the highlight of the show, proving he can give us any accent we want; he can play a man with a grudge against the world and this will make him perfect for Joel, who isn’t going to take any nonsense from anyone they meet.
Luke Evans has been having a very mixed career for success stories, with him having plenty of hits and misses, though he does always bring us a great character along the way. With his screen presence being what could stand him out from the crowd in the role of Joel, he could bring the tough guy persona needed for the role, while being able to do the small talk and grief-stricken character with ease.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Jeffrey Dean Morgan was the very first person I ever suggested for this role, just after he was cast as Negan in The Walking Dead, after seeing him steal the show in his first season. I will still stand by my decision for the grizzled actor to take this role; he shows a side that doesn’t want to care, but deep down he does care more than he lets on and now we have seen he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty in a role like this.
Josh Brolin recently played the biggest villain in film history, Thanos, who literally took out half the universe. It is about time he was given a hero role and here we would give him a chance to be the brooding character Joel can be, with his distinct accent helping for this role. We got glimpses of what we could get with his role as Cable in Deadpool 2, where he is a broken father, and add that to the acting class he gave in No Country for Old Men, we would be ready for the role.
Timothy Olyphant has been making a career on the small screen, where he has always managed to shine in whatever role he has been given. In Justified and Deadwood, he showed how he can play somebody willing to fight against the odds, giving him a chance to play the drifter-like figure of Joel while having a connection with the young character that he can bring with a simple smile.
David Harbour hit true superstardom with his role in Stranger Things, which did lead to him getting the starring role in the critically bashed Hellboy, though his performance was well received. We know Stranger Things is ending soon, which would free him up. In Stranger Things, he does get to show a side of his character which is more reluctant to be involved with travelling around with a teenager, which is why I believe David could be an excellent choice for the show.
Chiwetel Ejiofor is easily one of the most underrated actors in the business today. He has been through a host of different roles throughout his career and it could be time for him to step into another apocalypse movie. In Serenity we got to see him play a cold, calculated killer, who was able to operate in silence; in Children of Men, a determined person willing to die for a cause. Mix the two together, we could have a strong contender for the leading role.
Kang-Ho Song has become a household name after his performance in the Oscar-winning Parasite, the South Korean star has been starring in big-time movies for years now, with The Host and Snowpiercer under his belt. He showed us in Parasite that he can play the father character that is pushed to extraordinary lengths while being the person that doesn’t look like he would lose a fight. He could bring the brooding, emotionally scarred figure to life in a new way, showing Joel as more of a strong, silent type, as we know he doesn’t talk that much through the game.
We are fast becoming the number one independent website for streaming coverage. Please support Ready Steady Cut today. Secure its future — we need you!
Darren starting writing for films at Movies Reviews 101. He joined the Ready Steady Cut team in 2018 and is a proud member of the LAMB (Large Association of movie bloggers).