‘The Last Of Us’ HBO adaptation lands director

‘Beanpole’ director Kantemir Balagov has been tapped to helm the pilot episode

HBO’s upcoming TV adaptation of Naughty Dog’s hit video game The Last Of Us has landed its pilot director.

TheHollywoodReporter has revealed that the first episode of the upcoming game-to-television adaptation will be helmed by Russian filmmaker Kantemir Balagov. Balagov is best known for feature films such as Closeness and Beanpole, both of which won awards at the 2017 and 2019 Cannes Film Festival respectively.

The series is being written by Naughty Dog co-president and The Last Of Us creator Neil Druckmann, and Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin. Druckmann said of Balagov’s involvement in the series: “Kantemir is a brilliant director who shares our love for Joel and Ellie’s journey. Stoked that he’s joining the TloU family.”

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TheHollywoodReporter also noted that Chernobyl director Johan Renck was originally tapped to direct the pilot, but had to pull out of the project due to a scheduling conflict.
The TV adaptation of The Last Of Us will follow the 2013 game’s plot: Joel, a hardened survivor travels across a post-apocalyptic US to deliver a young girl named Ellie to safety. Over the course of their journey, they’re thrust into precarious situations, and learn to trust one another more. The show’s cast has not been announced.

The Last Of Us’ upcoming TV series is the latest Naughty Dog title to be adapted for a different medium. The Uncharted movie, starring Tom Holland as Nathan Drake and Mark Wahlberg as Victor Sullivan, recently wrapped production in October, and is scheduled for a July 16, 2021 release.

PlayStation boss Jim Ryan recently revealed during Sony’s CES 2021 presentation that the Uncharted movie and HBO’s The Last Of Us show are “just the beginning of the expansion of our storytelling into new media and even wider audiences.”

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Naughty Dog’s The Last Of Us Part II, which released in June 2020, was awarded the Game Of The Year Award during December’s The Game Awards ceremony. The game also clinched the top spot in NME’s 20 Best Games of 2020 list.

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