Screens Gems is Putting The Last of Us on the Silver Screen
Another property is making the jump from the interactive medium to the passive viewing magic of the big screen. Screen Gems, the production studio responsible for the eight-hundred Resident Evil films released since 2002, has signed on to distribute a feature film based on Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us.
Ghost House Pictures, the studio behind horror hound movies like Drag Me to Hell and last year’s superb Evil Dead remake, is set to produce, automatically attaching famed director/producer Sam Raimi to the project. Wisely, the game’s co-director and scribe, Neil Druckmann, has been tapped to write the movie’s screenplay as well as warm up a producer’s chair. Bruce Straley, the other co-director on the game, and Naughty Dog co-presidents Christophe Balestra and Evan Wells join in on the fun in producing roles.
“Since our game released last June, we’ve talked with many companies about making a film,” said Evan Wells, “but we couldn’t have found better partners who share our creative vision and high standards. We look forward to collaborating with Sam, his team, and Screen Gems, to make a movie that will thrill fans of The Last of Us and general audiences worldwide.”
Seeing as how Sony owns Screen Gems, they were destined to handle the rights to the PlayStation 3 exclusive. Ghost House is an inspired choice to tackle the material, though their track record is spotty (more than half their ventures are B-movie horror flicks; before Evil Dead, the American Grudge films were their only totem poles… very unfortunately).
But having a veteran such as Raimi on the project, especially given his keenness toward video games – this was the man originally meant to bring World of Warcraft to theaters – and allowing Neil Druckmann and company to lord over the material are classy ass moves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still nervous. The Last of Us may be an extremely cinematic game, but what the game gets right, which is a lot, might come off wrong translated to film. It’d also go a long way in my book if the studio that cursed us with five Resident Evil mistreatments wasn’t anywhere in spitting distance of The Last of Us, but that’s just me (obviously it’s just me since those films are the most financially successful game adaptations in history… very unfortunately).
Still, if even a modicum of The Last of Us’ powerful, affecting narrative – one that touches on loss, humanity, and hope juxtaposed against constant hopelessness – endures the transition, I think I’ll be happy. Pretty excited to see how this one plays out.