Nick Offerman has become the latest actor to join the cast of The Last of Us HBO series. According to Variety, the Parks and Recreation actor will play the role of Bill, a character that had to be recast following the departure of Con O’Neill.
Offerman’s participation in the project was accidentally revealed earlier this week through a Guardian interview with Murray Bartlett, the actor who is playing Frank. Bartlett said “A lot of my scenes are with Nick Offerman. Playing off him was awesome”. He didn’t clarify the character Offerman was playing and many assumed O’Neill was still part of the project. An official reason for O’Neill’s departure hasn’t been revealed, although “an individual with knowledge of the situation” claims that his departure was simply due to a scheduling conflict.
Other names to be confirmed for the series include Pedro Pascal as Joel, Bella Ramsey as Ellie, Anna Torv as Tess, Nico Parker as Joel’s daughter Sarah, and Gabriel Luna as Tommy. Merle Dandridge will reprise her role as Marlene in the HBO series too. Jeffrey Pierce, the actor who voiced Tommy in the video game, will instead be playing the part of a brand new character called Perry.
O’Neill isn’t the only person to drop out of the show due to scheduling conflicts. Johan Renck was replaced as the director of the pilot for a similar reason. The pilot has now been directed by Kantemir Balagov while other episodes have been directed by Craig Mazin, Jasmila Zbanic, Peter Hoar, and the game’s Creative Director Neil Druckmann himself.
The TV series will follow the events of the game to an extent. Set 20 years after the deadly Cordyceps fungus has ravaged humanity, Joel is hired to smuggle Ellie out of a quarantine zone. Things aren’t that easy, though, and the pair find themselves travelling across the US while trying to avoidboth mutated creatures and the humans trying to stop them achieving their goal. Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckmann has already confirmed the game will be “pretty close” to the game but will “deviate greatly” in other ways, keeping things fresh for fans of the game.[Source: Variety, The Guardian]