There are plenty of things to be excited about when it comes to HBO’s The Last of Us. The post-apocalyptic atmosphere, potentially gory action and sharp scares are just a few, and they’re sure to delight hardcore fans of the video game franchise. On top of this, the show has also recruited a list of talented actors, led by The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal and Game of Thrones’ Bella Ramsey. It was recently revealed that Nick Offerman, of Parks and Recreation fame, had also joined the highly anticipated project, though his exact role was not revealed. It appears, though, that this role has subsequently been confirmed, and it couldn’t be more perfect.
To most people, the fan-favorite actor is known for his deadpan role as the iconic Ron Swanson but, through The Last of Us, they’ll soon know him as Bill, a survivalist fending off the Infected. Con O’Neill was originally tapped to play the part but, according to Variety, the actor was forced to bow out due to a scheduling conflict. While O’Neill surely could’ve been a nice fit for the Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann-created show, Offerman is a strong pick for the role of Bill.
The actor’s casting was first revealed by fellow series star Murray Bartlett, who mentioned in a recent interview that many of his scenes were with the Bad Times at the El Royale alum. Bartlett is playing the role of Frank, a fellow survivor and Bill’s romantic partner. Fans of the game are surely aware of the couple’s story and how it ultimately plays out. And I’d bet that it’s going to be just as emotional in the live-action series.
In the original 2013 game, the grizzled Bill comes into play when Joel, an old comrade, and Ellie (the main protagonists) arrive in his town in order to search for a working car. While Bill doesn’t have one on hand, he assists the two in retrieving the parts needed to get one going. As the three venture through Infected territory, gamers learn that Frank died prior to the events of the game. But in a twist that’s even more tragic, the trio come upon Frank’s body, and it’s revealed that he hanged himself after learning that he was infected. He also leaves behind a suicide note in which he says that he hates Bill’s guts.
Given that an actor has actually been cast to play the role of Frank, it’s evident that we’re going to get to spend way more time with him on the HBO series. Seeing as the actors playing them are billed as guest stars, there’s a chance their story will be highlighted in a single episode. I can also see this playing out with the help of intermittent flashbacks throughout such an installment. Because they weren’t seen together in the game, it’ll be a nice way to get a better glimpse at their relationship. And since the games’ co-writer (Neil Druckmann) is involved, any additional backstory viewers learn about was probably concocted by him and co-writer Bruce Straley years ago.
The Last of Us seems to be following its source material very closely, though there will be some changes made here and there. Neil Druckmann has spoken on how similar the show is to the original games but also acknowledged that it will deviate in some ways in order to adapt to the television medium. This could be one of the reasons that Frank seems to have an expanded role.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Nick Offerman is an awesome pick-up for this project. His sarcastic, serious and sincere demeanor is just what’s needed for Bill, and I’m eager to see how he approaches the role. We’ll see how his performance plays out when HBO’s The Last of Us drops its first season in 2022.
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