The Last Of Us Creators Explain Why Merle Dandridge Is The Only Actor To Reprise Her Role From The Game

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Craig Mazin talked about the show’s cast and got into the specifics of what made the creator bring Merle Dandridge back to play Marlene in the series. While Mazin would point out that the character of Marlene looked “more weathered and [had] a little more grey in her hair” than Dandridge, it wasn’t an issue that makeup and hairstyling couldn’t fix. All these years after the original game, Mazin and Neil Druckmann believed she was still the best actor for the role. Mazin added:

“She’s also eternally youthful. It’s 10 years later [after the first game’s debut], and she does have this wonderful gravitas. So it was really a question of, ‘Hey, if we just wig her, I think we’re there.’ That was an easy one. It’s obviously not anything we could contemplate with, say, Troy Baker.”

Troy Baker, Joel’s voice and motion capture actor in the “Last of Us” games, ended up not reprising his role simply because, as Mazin noted, he is “so physically different from Joel.” Instead, Pedro Pascal would take over the character’s mantle in live-action, bringing the intimidating stature and physicality required for the character. However, per EW, Baker will portray James, a survivor seen briefly in the winter portion of the first game, who will have a more significant part to play in the series. Clearly, Mazin and┬áDruckmann have only love and respect for the actors that came before, giving them opportunities to explore the world in new and exciting ways.

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