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Matthew McConaughey Was Approached About Being In The Last of Us

By Andrew Sanford | TV | June 23, 2023 |

By Andrew Sanford | TV | June 23, 2023 |


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The Last of Us presents an alternate reality where, in the early 2000s, a spore-driven virus wiped out most of humanity. Before anyone got to play with a Wii, they were killed, eaten, or turned into mindless zombies. However, there was almost an alternate version of this alternate world. Instead of Pedro Pascal leading Bella Ramsey across an America reclaimed by nature, showrunner Craig Mazin approached a different actor to play everybody’s favorite zaddy.

Mathew McConaughey, the actor turned almost politician turned part-time motivational speaker(?) was approached early on by Mazin. Craig said of the almost-casting, “I did talk to Matthew. I wouldn’t say that it was serious, it was more of just like, ‘Hey, here’s something we can talk about.’” It wasn’t like it was a done deal. There likely won’t be a Last Of Us film in the future that features a CGI cameo of McConaughey in Joel’s flannel. It still offers a Sliding Doors type scenario that is hard not to meditate on.

Pascal was perfect in the role. He offers a grounded sense of trauma and dread that fuels his protective nature. Watching him grow to love Ramsey like a daughter was oft tear-inducing in the Sanford household. Also, Pedro was an early choice, but Mazin was told that he wouldn’t be available. At that point, they explored some other options. Eventually, Pedro’s schedule freed up, and the rest is history.

All that said, I don’t think McConaughey would have been a bum choice. He likely would have been a very different Joel from the game and, possibly, what we got in the show. But, to be fair, we don’t know that for sure. He has the star power to request changes and could have molded the character to fit his sensibilities as an actor, but he could have just gone with the flow of the role. I’m all for changes to the source material when creating an adaptation, but that may not have been the case here despite the drastically different casting.

We are lucky to have the adaptation of The Last Of Us that we do. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But it would be fun to see McConaughey take a crack at the part. Successful? Who knows.