Hollywood adaptations of video games have a mostly disappointing history. The Last of Us is the type of cinematic journey that could defy this trend, especially in the hands of this talented group.
The developer Naughty Dog, film distributor Screen Gems, and studio Ghost House Pictures have agreed to make a live action adaptation of the best-selling, award-sweeping survival game.
Screen Gems’ president Clint Culpepper realized that The Last of Us’ story about Joel and Ellie has wide appeal. “When I saw the quality of the storytelling, I knew the audience for this project was far greater than just the gaming community,” he said. Culpepper also believes in the importance of capturing the essence of what makes the game’s story so memorable, saying, “Neil Druckmann [The Last of Us’ creative director] must write the screenplay.”
Sam Raimi runs Ghost House Pictures, and has experience adapting popular franchises from other media to film. Specifically, he directed the successful Spider-Man trilogy. Screen Gems was behind the Resident Evil film series based on the video games, which managed to gross $915 million worldwide (more than any other game-based film series) despite poor critical reception.
Naughty Dog co-president Evan Wells called a collaboration “a perfect fit.” In a statement, he said, “We’ve talked to many companies about making a film, but we couldn’t have found better partners who share our creative vision and high standards.”