THE LAST OF US movie development has stalled

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These days any popular video-game is seemingly getting its own movie. However, if you were to make a game into a movie, you would think choosing one with a compelling storyline would be a good idea. At least that’s what I thought when I first played Max Payne and thinking this would make an awesome movie. I then watched the Max Payne movie when it came out and wondered, why on earth they made this into a movie? Sometimes, when there is such a detailed story to build upon, it can actually be more difficult for studios to successfully recreate them into movies.

Which seems to be the case for Naughty Dog, whose popular titles include incredible story driven epics like the Uncharted franchise and The Last of Us. Both which were pegged early on as movie projects when the games became successful, but have been plagued with development difficulties. And while it seems Uncharted is finally gaining some traction, the latter, is going the other direction, effectively being stalled.

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That’s according to IGN, who caught up Sam Raimi, who has been attached as producer to The Last of Us film ever since it was first announced. And it seems the differences largely lie between the studio and screenwriter Neil Druckmann (who was creative director on the video game itself), which is a sad turn of events, especially for someone who has been so involved with the story from its very inception:

Well, unfortunately that one – when we went to Neil with Ghost House Pictures we were hoping to get the rights like we do any project and then we’d take it out and sell it but we’d control the rights. With this one he went to Sony – who I have a very good relationship with – but they have their own plans for it and I think Neil’s plan for it – I’m not trying to be political – Neil’s plan for it is not the same as Sony’s. And because my company doesn’t have the rights, I actually can’t help him too much. Even though I’m one of the producers on it the way he set it up, he sold his rights to Sony, Sony hired me as a producer by chance, and I can’t get the rights free for him so I’m not in the driver’s seat and I can’t tell you what Sony and Neil together will decide on. If they do move forward I’d love to help them again.

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Now The Last of Us has been one of the most critically praised games of recent memory and offered a deep narrative and strong characters which you controlled as they tried to survive a post-apocalyptic world. The story was full of twists and turns which could translate well into a movie. However, I’m glad its currently stalled and actually secretly hope that it doesn’t get made, at least not anytime soon.

Why do I choose to be so negative? Well, it’s just that when a story and game is already considered near perfect, why change it. Adapting the game into a movie will likely be a lose-lose situation. You either retell the story as a movie, which doesn’t always translate well to the big screen and you disappoint people for lacking originality or you tell a different and fresh perspective on it and run the risk of isolating fans.

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I have no doubt that Druckmann would’ve brought something fresh and different to the story. But would that story not be better told as an add-on or sequel to the game instead. That way you get to please the core fans, which is what these films are really about.

I could be wrong of course. Assassin’s Creed is so far looking awesome and Hollywood is slowly getting better at telling video game stories, so Sony could still be onto something here. What do you make of the news? Should The Last of Us be made into a film or is best left preserved as a masterpiece video game instead?

Last Updated: November 18, 2016

Craig Risi

A man of many talents, but no sense how to use them. I could be discovering the cure for aids or finding ways to achieve world peace, but I'd rather be watching movies and writing here instead.

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