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A key member of The Last of Us video game franchise is headed for HBO.
Merle Dandridge, who voiced Marlene in both the original 2013 game and last year’s sequel, will reprise the role in the premium cable network’s scripted drama series.
The Last of Us revolves around the relationship between Joel (Pedro Pascal, The Mandalorian), a hardened survivor of the collapse of modern civilization 20 years ago, and 14-year-old Ellie (Bella Ramsey, Game of Thrones), whom he’s hired to smuggle out of an oppressive quarantine zone.
Dandridge’s Marlene is the head of the Fireflies, a resistance movement struggling for freedom against an oppressive military regime. She joins a cast that also includes Gabriel Luna as Tommy, Joel’s younger brother.
Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) and Neil Druckmann — the writer and creative director of the games — are penning the scripts for the series. The games, published by Santa Monica–based Naughty Dog, have sold more than 17 million units since the original bowed in 2013. Mazin and Druckmann exec produce alongside the Mighty Mint’s Carolyn Strauss, Naughty Dog’s Evan Wells, PlayStation Productions’ Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan, and Rose Lam. Jasmila Zbanic and Ali Abbasi are attached to direct the series, which is a co-production between Sony Pictures TV, PlayStation, Word Games, the Mighty Mint and Druckmann’s Naughty Dog.
Last of Us expands Dandridge’s relationship with WarnerMedia, for whom she co-stars in HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant. Her credits also include Apple’s Truth Be Told, Sons of Anarchy, Still Star-Crossed and The Night Shift. On the gaming side, she also collaborated with Druckmann on Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. She’s repped by SDB Partners, CornerStone Talent Agency and Schreck Rose.
A premiere date for The Last of Us has not yet been determined.
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