Before it was one of the biggest shows on TV, The Last of Us was originally planned to be a blockbuster film. According to one actor involved in both, the movie may have always been doomed from the start.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Jeffrey Pierce — who played the role of Joel’s brother Tommy in the video game series — revealed that at one point, film studio Screen Gems (a subsidiary of Sony) asked him to read for the role of Tommy in a gathering of actors.
Pierce didn’t reveal who else appeared during the secretive read-through but did give his opinion on the movie. According to him, he believes that even if the film had been made, it wouldn’t have been able to live up to the game, and certainly wouldn’t have been as good as the television series currently is.
“As good as it was, it was never gonna be a great movie,” Pierce said. “In a two-hour runtime, how are you gonna tell 14, 17 hours of story? Then I think that there was some conversation about it maybe being an animation motion-capture movie series at some point, and that seemed like a good idea, but we’ve been down that road. So how would that become special?”
While the movie adaptation didn’t happen, Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann eventually met and developed what would be the idea for the ongoing HBO adaptation. From Pierce’s point of view, it was a match made in heaven.
“The second that I heard that Neil and Craig had lunch together — I had just watched Chernobyl in a hotel room in Vancouver or something and was floored by this historical event — I knew that the two of them were gonna make something just about perfect.”
While Pierce didn’t play Tommy in the live-action series, he did make an appearance. Pierce played the role of Perry, a revolutionary rebel and right-hand man to Kathleen (Melanie Lynskey).
The previously released five episodes of The Last of Us are available to stream now on HBO Max or watch on HBO.