Booksmart actor selected as resentful soldier Abby in post-apocalyptic drama, as TV show writers avoid physical resemblance to the video game character
One of the most contentious video game characters of the past five years has been cast for the second season of HBO’s adaptation of The Last of Us. Actor Kaitlyn Dever, of Booksmart and Justified, will portray resentful soldier Abby in the video game sequel The Last of Us Part II. Abby and Ellie are mortal enemies.
The TV show’s creators have avoided physical similarities to the original game characters, which makes this another interesting casting decision. When the show was announced, fans overwhelmingly wanted 27-year-old Dever to play Ellie because of her similarity to the main character and her brief appearance in Uncharted 4, which was also developed by Naughty Dog, the team behind The Last of Us. The younger actor, Bella Ramsey, who more nearly matched Ellie’s age, was chosen by the showrunners, nevertheless.
In the grim post-apocalyptic movie The Last of Us, a cannibalistic fungus has destroyed much of the human race, leaving just a small group of survivors. The adolescent Ellie finds out she is immune to the infection in the first game, and the first season of the TV program. She and her reluctant guardian Joel have to travel across America to a laboratory that is working on a cure. The program and the games have both been enormous commercial and critical successes.
In its first two years, The Last of Us Part II sold 10 million copies, demonstrating its widespread acclaim. However, because of her intricate function in the game and the body-shaming remarks made about her strong appearance on social media and gaming forums, Abby’s character became the target of misogynistic online abuse. Death threats were made against Laura Bailey, the actress who portrayed Abby in the game.
Although there were some reservations about Ramsey’s casting as Ellie at first, the television series has received almost unanimous praise and was nominated for many Emmy awards. Ramsey also established a strong and compelling rapport with Joel actor Pedro Pascal in the role of Ellie.