HBO’s TV adaptation of Sony’s hit video game The Last Of Us was first announced in March of 2020, and was then given a straight-to-series order back in November. Having previously tapped Beanpole director Kantemir Balagov to helm the pilot, the series has now added another two directors to direct episodes of the highly-anticipated show.
Jasmila Žbanić and Ali Abbasi have come onboard the series. Žbanić’s latest feature, Quo Vadis, Aida?, earned a nomination for best international feature film at this year’s Oscars, and she was also nominated for Best Director at the BAFTAs. Abbasi has previously directed the Rosemary’s Baby-esque horror film Shelley and 2018 Cannes favourite, Border.
It’s unclear how many episodes of the series have been greenlit, and we don’t yet know how many Žbanić and Abbasi will direct. We do know that the game revolves around Joel, a smuggler tasked with escorting a teenage girl named Ellie across a post-apocalyptic United States.
Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin, and writer and creative director of the original game Neil Druckmann, are both attached as co-writers and executive producers for the series. Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian), Bella Ramsey, and Gabriel Luna have already been cast in the lead roles.
It would have been easy for HBO to simply hire the flashiest director names, so credit to them for the more obscure hirings who probably pitched a passionate vision for how the series should look and feel. Fans may not be too familiar with Žbanić, Abbasi and Balagov right now, but their profiles will be much bigger once the show begins airing.
Considering the huge popularity of the game, obviously this series will be a very big deal. HBO seem to be making sure they have all the bases covered in order to get everything right, as production is set to last from July of this year until June 2022. That’s a mammoth shoot for a TV show, so Žbanić, Abbasi and co. better be ready, as they’re in this for the long haul.