As Johan Renck takes off the helm of directing Last of Us, the HBO TV adaptation of the popular franchise is seeing its new director with Russian filmmaker Kantemir Balagov.
With Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin, previously mentioned to play a key role in the small screen program, its TV series director is also believed to be in the project. Renck, however, is backing down from the role due to scheduling conflicts. In his place, he is an avid movie maker, known for films with melancholic themes.
A “Gloomy Start”
Balagov is set to direct the post-apocalyptic TV show’s pilot episode, which promises darker themes. A project that only comes fittingly considering his portfolio.
The director of Circassian origin gained further worldwide renown after winning his first Cannes award in 2017 with Closeness. A film that revolves around a poor Jewish family, a small town, and kidnapping.
He subsequently earned another FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019 with Beanpole. It tells a dark story between two women amid the aftermath of World War II’s Siege of Leningrad.
Behind the highly-anticipated show is a slew of production crews consistent with Sony Pictures Television, Naughty Dog, PlayStation Productions, The Mighty Mint, and Word Games.
Taking the role of executive producers for the HBO adaptation are PlayStation Productions’ Carter Swan and Asad Qizilbash; Naughty Dog’s Evan Wells; and Carolyn Strauss.
The video game itself, to which the small screen program is based, revolves around survivors Joel and Ellie. Set in an apocalyptic theme, 20 years after civilization’s collapse, Last of Us tells a story of struggle in a world ravaged by a pandemic.
TV Adaptation in Hindsight
The road to the HBO adaptation of the video game franchise has been quite a lengthy one. Originally a feature film, the project consequently became a TV series after HBO acquired the rights in March 2020. With it comes the announcement that the television project will be helmed by Craig Mazin and Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann. But it was not until November 2020 when the undertaking was officially green-lit.
Neil Druckmann is heavily involved in the franchise, including the highly-controversial The Last of Us Part II. The sequel, among other things, saw notoriety for themes involving gender and over-the-top violence.
Still, in the early stages of its development, it seems likely that it will take a while before we get to see Last of Us on TV.
Image used courtesy of Film at Lincoln Center/YouTube Screenshot