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These Actors Almost Played Ellie In The Last Of Us

On January 15, the first season of HBO's "The Last of Us" will offer viewers a nine-episode series based upon Naughty Dog's massively popular "The Last of Us" video game initially released in 2013. As with any adaptation of an already-popular IP, many fans of "The Last of Us" were eager to see who HBO would cast in the show's most prominent roles. Eventually, the show's full cast was revealed, with Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian") portraying the lead character Joel. At the same time, Bella Ramsey ("Game of Thrones") was selected to depict Ellie, his 14-year-old companion, in arguably the most divisive casting choice of the series.


Before HBO became attached to the project, the plan was initially for Naughty Dog to produce a film adaptation of "The Last of Us" alongside Sony's Screen Gems with horror legend Sam Raimi attached to direct. During pre-production for the ill-fated project, several actresses were considered for the role of Ellie — arguably the most important character of not only the first game but the entire game series. Two actresses considered strong candidates for the role were mentioned by name in a recent exclusive that broke down the process of finding an actress to portray Ellie before Ramsey was chosen.

Kaitlyn Dever

Having attained notoriety for roles in "Unbelievable" on Netflix and "Dopesick" on Hulu — both earning Golden Globe nominations — actress Kaitlyn Dever was once in the running to portray Ellie. Not only that but Dever was also considered the de facto front-runner in the Sam Raimi-directed film adaptation of "The Last of Us" back in 2014. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dever even did a table read for the role. Despite this traction, per Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckmann, the film adaptation was eventually nixed due to creative differences with Raimi's vision of the film adaptation.


Dever's potential casting proved popular among fans of the first game due to her resemblance to Ellie's character in terms of both physical appearance and demeanor. Unfortunately, after the film's production was canceled, it took years for the HBO series to finally get off the ground. And by that time, Dever was in her 20's and considered to have aged out of the role. 

After Bella Ramsey was officially announced to be portraying Ellie in the HBO adaptation, there were still some fans that wished they could have seen Dever in the production (via DualShockers). 

Maisie Williams

Believe it or not, Bella Ramsey wasn't the only actress of "Game of Thrones" fame to be earmarked for the role of Ellie. As mentioned in the Hollywood Reporter article, former Arya Stark actress Maisie Williams was also a strong candidate for Ellie in the original "Last of Us" film production. "Ramsey's 'Thrones' co-star Maisie Williams had a chat with Druckmann about the movie adaptation very early on," the Hollywood Reporter says in regard to Williams' prospects.


In a 2014 interview with IGN, Williams said that she was very eager and enthusiastic about earning the part of Ellie and that the studio had apparently been very keen on her getting it. Ellie's voice and motion capture artist Ashley Johnson even personally listed Williams among her favorites to be given the role at one point. However, from the looks of it, Williams' consideration for the role of Ellie never went beyond that initial conversation with Druckmann. And by the time an HBO adaptation of "The Last of Us" was finally greenlit, she too like Dever had become too old to believably play the role of a 14-year-old girl. 

While neither initial picks made it to the final production, fans can soon see how Bella Ramsey handles the first depiction of Ellie on screen.