Several actors from “The Last of Us” video game have cameoed throughout the first season of HBO’s adaptation. But co-creators Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin revealed that there’s another actor from the franchise who has a cameo you may have missed in Sunday’s finale: Laura Bailey.
Bailey is known for originating the role of Abby in the game’s sequel “The Last of Us Part II.”
“It was kind of late along and Merle [Dandrige] was back to play Marlene…and Laura and Merle are great friends,” Mazin recalled. “And we were like ‘I mean, you want to be a nurse?’ and she was like ‘Yeah.’ It was just this fun thing.”
Mazin said that he took Bailey on a tour of a hospital in Grand Prairie, Texas, where the finale was being filmed.
“We were there because they have a hospital that essentially is abandoned at this point. It’s going to be torn down. And it was interesting. She cried just looking at it,” he continued. “It was the same thing that happened with Merle. The first time Merle put the Marlene wig on she cried. It’s a common thing that the people that had come from Neil’s game world felt like they were stepping into this impossible, like the most amazing VR adaptation of “The Last of Us” ever.”
In addition to playing Abby, Druckmann confirmed that Bailey was also one of the nurses in the original 2013 action adventure game.
“It just felt kind of like ‘Okay, we gotta get you in there somewhere in this season,’ he added. “Maybe we’ll do something else with her in the next season.”
“I mean, she’s got a mask on so we can make her anything we want in the next season,” Mazin chimed in.
Based on Naughty Dog’s critically acclaimed video game, “The Last of Us,” takes place 20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed. Joel (Pedro Pascal), a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle a 14-year-old girl named Ellie (Bella Ramsey) out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal, heartbreaking journey, as they both must traverse the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.
In addition to Dandrige and Bailey, other actors from the game that have appeared in the show include Ashley Johnson, who originated the role of Ellie and plays her mother Anna in the finale; Troy Baker, who originated the role of Joel and plays James in episode 8; and Jeffrey Pierce, who originated the role of Joel’s younger brother Tommy and plays Perry in episodes 4 and 5.
The Last of Us was renewed for its second season in January following strong viewership in its first two episodes. The series premiere marked HBO’s second-largest debut – only behind “House of the Dragon” – since “Boardwalk Empire” premiered on the network in 2010. According to Nielsen and first party data, episode 8 of “The Last of Us” marked a record high for the series at 8.1 million viewers.
The Last of Us Season 1 is streaming now on HBO Max