Sam Raimi: Last of Us Movie Stuck in ‘Standstill’

As video games continue to grow in popularity and market share, Hollywood struggles to find a way to translate these games to success on the big screen. With The Walking Dead having opened the flood gates on the zombie apocalypse genre, it makes sense that is a game that Sony has in development. Ever since the game’s initial release in June of 2013, Sony has been hinting at the possibility of a film adaptation.

Game adaptations have been made based on very little story, like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, and on games that have too much open world to explore, like World of Warcraft. Yet none seemed to have found the sweet spot, though Assassin’s Creed will certainly try. While The Last of Us weighs heavy on players emotions, many gamers wonder if there’s really enough story in the game to carry a film.

At a press event, spoke to Sam Raimi ( Evil Dead, Spider-Man), who has been attached to the film as a producer since 2014. He’d been working closely with Neil Druckmann of Naughty Dog, the studio that created The Last of Us. Raimi’s response to the status of the project meanders as he tries to avoid the blame game, but eventually he reveals that his hands are tied as far as forward progress goes. He said:

“With this one [Neil Druckmann] went to Sony, who I have a very good relationship with. But they have their own plans for it and I think Neil’s plan for it – I’m not trying to be political – Neil’s plan for it is not the same as Sony’s. Right now [the script] just sitting there. [Sony] doesn’t want to move forward, and it’s not my place to say why. Neil, I think, is in a slight disagreement with them about how things should go so there’s a standstill.”

Druckmann, who served as creative director for The Last of Us, was set to write the film adaptation while the game’s director, Bruce Straley, was listed as co-producer with Sam Raimi. The film version was always meant to be a direct adaptation of the game; which follows two main characters, Ellie and Joel, as they navigate a zombie ridden world two decades after a horrible virus spread throughout humanity.

Based on Raimi’s comments, it looks like Druckmann and Sony had a falling out over creative differences. An occurrence that seems to be happening more frequently of late, like Deadpool 2 losing director Tim Miller (because of spat with Ryan Reynolds) and The Flash losing Rick Famuyiwa (over issues with Warner Bros).

With the fate of The Last of Us up in the air, Naughty Dog and Sony have begun to fast-track the game studios highly popular adaptation. But all hope is not lost as Raimi, who is still on board, also had this to say:

“I’m not in the driver’s seat and I can’t tell you what Sony and Neil together will decide on. If they do move forward I’d love to help them again.”

The Last of Us film appears to be on hold indefinitely.

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