HBO's 'The Last of Us' Series Taps Merle Dandridge to Reprise Role as Marlene From Original Game
At least one character in HBO’s TV adaptation of the acclaimed video game The Last of Us will sound exactly the same. That would be Marlene, whose actress from the original video game Merle Dandridge has been cast to reprise the role for the high-profile TV series. She’ll be joining a cast that includes Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsay, and Gabriel Luna.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Merle Dandridge will reprise her role as Marlene, which she originated in The Last of Us video game, in the HBO TV adaptation. Dandridge’s Marlene is the leader of the Fireflies, “a resistance movement struggling for freedom against an oppressive military regime” who are key to the plot.
This is the first instance of a voice actor from The Last of Us video game reprising their role for the live-action series — and indeed, it’s a super rare instance of an actor making the transition from the sound booth to the live-action realm. Though The Last of Us would be the adaptation best suited for that transition, as the game used motion capture technology, with the actors performing the movements in addition to the voices of their characters.
And while Dandridge may be best known for her voice acting, she’s no stranger to acting in front of the camera. Her credits include Murphy Brown, Apple’s Truth Be Told, Sons of Anarchy, Still Star-Crossed and The Night Shift, and she’s worked with WarnerMedia before, starring as Kim Hammond in HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant.
Created by Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin and Neil Druckman, The Last of Us is a highly anticipated adaptation of the Sony Playstation franchise that swept the video game world in 2013 and pushed the boundaries for cinematic video game storytelling. The Last of Us is a “tale of the post-apocalypse, centering on the relationship between Joel, a smuggler in this new world, and Ellie, a teenager who may be key to a cure for a deadly pandemic. Joel, a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle the 14-year-old girl out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal, heartbreaking journey as they traverse the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.”
Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey are set to star in the series as Joel and Ellie, respectively, in a story that takes place “twenty years after modern civilization has been destroyed.” Luna plays Tommy, Joel’s younger brother.
No premiere date has yet been set for The Last of Us.
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