It’s been revealed that Blade star Mahershala Ali was originally going to play Joel in HBO’s adaptation of The Last Of Us.
The hit post-apocalypse drama stars Pedro Pascal as Joel alongside Bella Ramsey as Ellie.
However, according to Jeffrey Pierce (who voices Joel’s little brother Tommy in the original PlayStation game) Pascal’s role almost went to Mahershala Ali, who’s heading up Marvel’s Blade reboot.
Speaking to The Direct about reprising his role as Tommy, Pierce said “I think initially they had talked to Mahershala Ali about playing Joel, which is an obvious cue that I’m not gonna play Tommy.”
“And when they cast Pedro, I knew that it was certainly not going to happen [because] I’m older than Pedro Pascal. I was not harbouring any illusions about that, for sure.”
He went on to say that there were a couple of different ideas for the adaptation including a movie and a “motion-capture cinematic animated series”.
“With both of those are things, I thought, ‘I got a pretty good shot at being involved to some degree,” added Pierce.
While Gabriel Luna may have played Tommy in the HBO series, Pierce did feature in The Last Of Us. He played stern soldier Perry in episodes four and five alongside Melanie Lynskey’s tough leader Kathleen before a memorable encounter with a Bloater.
Speaking to Gameradar about the role, Pierce said: “I told [co-showrunner Neil Druckmann] early on, I was like, look, I’ll come and carry a spear and stand in the corner if there’s anything that I can do to help support telling the story of the game – you know, count me in.”
“He sent me the scripts and I read [Perry]. I was like, ‘Oh shit, this is gonna be so much fun’. Druckmann is one of the most lovely, talented, decent human beings going, and he is so good at his job that when he hands you writing, you just know how to make it fly. And this was one of those moments.”
When The Last Of Us aired earlier this year, the first episode became HBO’s second biggest premiere in over a decade after House Of The Dragon, racking up 4.7 million viewers in the US. Viewership of the second episode jumped up to 5.7 million viewers, a 22 per cent increase and a second season was confirmed before the third episode aired.
According to Pascal, filming for that could begin this year.