If anyone’s in a position to compare The Last of Us on HBO to the original game, it’s Troy Baker. Baker played the original Joel in the games for all the motion capture and voice work. Last night, he also got to appear in the HBO series as James, right-hand man to the villainous David. It was a bigger role than he expected, as he tells Variety, “I thought I was gonna get a walk-on role. And then I got the script, and I was like, ‘Oh, there’s meat here.'” But it gave him a unique vantage point to compare the different versions.
Regrading Pedro Pascal’s performance in the role he originated, Baker says, “There’s a physicality that he brought to this that we couldn’t have done in the game. When you’re stitching yourself up from bullets and shivs, you can’t go, ‘Ow, my hand still hurts.’ But then in the show, we could say ‘I broke my hand and it’s bruised,’ and it stays with him for months. That, to me, is something that helps to ground the story and present it in a very tangible way to a whole new audience.”
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As for story changes, he’s in favor of what he’s seen, noting, “For someone who has spent as much time with this franchise as I have, there’s something in every episode where I learned something new. What this show has proven is that it’s a much bigger story than we originally conceived.”
Do you disagree, or not like the series? That’s fine with him, too. He thinks it beats apathy, saying, of potential mixed reactions to key moments in season 2, that they’ll be “Hopefully the same. Because it’ll show that we did the story justice. It’s very similar to the ending of Part I. Love it or hate it — if you have an opinion on it, then we did our job. Going forward, there will be more moments like that for you to wrestle with.”
Do you agree with Baker? Do you disagree with the changes the show has made? Let us know in comments.
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