Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey are excited for The Last of Us to get “more intense”

The Last of Us. Photograph by Liane Hentscher/HBO
The Last of Us. Photograph by Liane Hentscher/HBO /

The first season of The Last of Us was a big hit when it aired on HBO earlier this year, and the network is hard at work on a follow-up season…or at least they will be when the writers strike is over. While we wait for that, stars Pedro Pascal (Joel) and Bella Ramsey (Ellie) sat down with Deadline to talk about their relationship, dealing with fame, and what’s to come in season 2.

It’s pretty clear that Pascal and Ramsey are very close, maybe not as much as Joel and Ellie by the end of the season, but very much buddies. “Joel and Ellie initially were very estranged and had a lot of anger and resentment towards one another [at first],” Ramsey said. “We didn’t have that. We were just shy of each other. And now that I think about it, us being trapped in the car together for episode 3 did a lot for us.”

There also filmed a lot of walking scenes together, to the point where Pascal wanted to rename the show Just Walk With Us. “Because we were on that trail [in episode 3], and we had to go back to the beginning of it every single time. It was a long-written scene, and the sun was blazing.”

Bella Ramsey learned how to speak with an American accent for The Last of Us

The relationship between Joel and Ellie is at the heart of The Last of Us, so if Pascal and Ramsey didn’t have chemistry, the show wouldn’t work. Happily that wasn’t a problem.

Neither of them found it particularly difficult to find their individual characters, either, although each of them had to get used to new accents. If you didn’t know, Ramsey is British, and The Last of Us was the first job where she used an American accent for an extended period of time. She got used to it quickly.

“I feel Ellie came very naturally to me, and I didn’t have to really try very hard,” Ramsey said. “My American personality is Ellie because I learned the American accent through Ellie’s dialogue. So now, whenever I speak in an American accent, for whatever reason, I become Ellie. I swear in an American accent, too. In my own [British] accent, it just sounds wrong, the words don’t come out properly, and it trips me out. But I’ll happily call you a motherf*king asshole or dumbass [laughs].”

The Last of Us stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey on how to handle fame

Although both actors were known before The Last of Us, particularly Pascal, the HBO show raised their profiles considerably, to the point where Ramsey doesn’t think anything can ever be the same. “I keep thinking that I’ve adjusted, and then something new will happen and I’ll have realized I’m not adjusted at all,” she said. “There’s been a lot of really lovely positive reactions, and most people that come and say hi are very sweet. But I think when it’s just happening so much, it can get tiring, and you can slip into feeling like more of an object than a person. That’s one of the biggest things. It’s scary sometimes. And also, what I find hard is the knowledge that [fame] is never going to be less than this now. I can’t reverse it.”

"[T]here’s no way back, even if I quit acting, which I’m not going to do, but even that won’t cure it because I’ve already crossed the threshold. I’m learning to accept it in terms of traveling, which I enjoy particularly, and doing lots of press. But recently, I’ve been like, “Well, this is it. This is my life now.” And I just have to get on with it and deal with it and accept it. And this acceptance does a lot for me rather than trying to fight it."

Having appeared on shows like The Mandalorian and Narcos, Pascal had more experience with fame going into The Last of Us, and has some advice for neophyte celebrities like Ramsey. “[T]here’s a routine function, I think, that you don’t realize how precious it is to pull up and put gas in your car before you’ve showered or had coffee or anything like that. And then somebody’s taping you with their phone, and that’s the kind of object feeling,” he said. “There are different moments of the day that feel more vulnerable than others when your central nervous system simply isn’t prepared for an interruption of that kind, and that can have an accumulative effect for sure.”

"So, it’s just something I’ve remained really curious about because it does feel… I think that it’s something that if you don’t water the garden, it won’t grow. You know what I mean? So, in my mind, I’m like, “Don’t give it [any attention].” Maybe I’m lying to myself a little bit, or it’s just not that big of a deal. So, I don’t worry about it. It’ll pass."

Pedro Pascal: The pressure to top The Last of Us season 1 is “a little scary”

Speaking of Pascal’s past acting experience, he was already filming the second seasons of The Mandalorian and Narcos before the first premiered, so he didn’t have to deal with the pressure of knowing what people thought of the show before making more of it. Things are different heading into season 2 of The Last of Us, which has not started to film yet. “So, with The Last of Us, it’s a little scary,” he said. “Because we are going into Season 2 with the way that it’s already been received, so it has already started with a certain amount of pressure. It would actually be weird if we didn’t feel it. But, in terms of how beloved the game is, we’re in good hands.”

The Last of Us is indeed based on a series of PlayStation video games from developer Naughty Dog. The second game is controversial among the fandom, which could provide pressure on its own.

But for now, Ramsey is just thinking about living up to the first season of the TV show. “[T]here’s the pressure of doing it again, but better,” she said. “But I think if we think about that too much, there’s nothing you can do. You just have to do it, right? There’s no way of sitting down and like, ‘Right, how do I make this better?’ You just go and do it. But because I don’t have to write or produce it, I can just turn up on the day and hope for the best.”

What are Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal looking forward to in The Last of Us season 2?

But again, they won’t have to feel that pressure until they actually start filming season 2, which could be a while depending on how long this writers strike continues. “I’m looking forward to just being back, and I’ve heard bits about how the story’s developing, and I know quite a bit about the second video game. I’ve watched a lot of it,” Ramsey said. “So, I’m just excited to experience more things and for it to get a bit deeper and more intense.”

As for Pascal, he’s psyched to dig deeper into the Joel-Ellie dynamic, which will remain at the center of the story. “I’m really excited that there’s a likelihood that the dynamic between the two of them has really changed and that the texture of that is something that goes even further in the playing,” he said.

The Last of Us season 2 will come out…maybe late 2024? Probably more likely to see it in 2025. Let’s hope the strike resolves soon.

Next. Rhaenyra Targaryen will be “released” in House of the Dragon season 2. dark

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