With HBO’s The Last Of Us, Craig Mazin Wanted To Outdo Expectations, Not Subvert Them

/Film’s Ben Pearson attended an interview roundtable for “The Last of Us,” where series co-creator Craig Mazin explained his approach to adapting the beloved game and cleared up any doubts that the show intended to twist the story to shock audiences:

There’s this phrase that gets kicked around out there a lot, ‘subvert expectations.’ I’m not interested in subverting expectations. I’m interested in outdoing expectations. That’s what I’m about. I want to say, ‘Look, you expect it to be this good. [Raises hand] I’m going to try and come in at this good.’ [Raises hand higher] And the way you do that is by understanding and connecting completely to the heart and soul of the material, and then asking yourself as a fan, ‘What would I want more of?’

As a “The Last of Us” fan, Mazin’s words are like music to the ears. Changing what worked in the original game at a fundamental level would have always been a mistake. A faithful adaptation should try its best to replicate the heart and soul of its predecessor. However, the series should not limit itself, either. Although everyone has their wishlist for the “The Last of Us” show, it’s important to note that a one-for-one adaptation without taking advantage of the medium would not be ideal.

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