Tһe Lаst Of Us Tаlked To Mаttһew MсConаuɡһey Wһen Pedro Pаsсаl’s Sсһedule Confliсts Tһreаtened Tһe Sһow

The Last of Us co-creator reveals that Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey was being considered to play Joel when Pedro Pascal was initially unavailable.

Matthew McConaughey on the phone in The Gentlemen and Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us

The Last of Us co-creator Craig Mazin revealed that Matthew McConaughey was in the running to play Joel before Pedro Pascal was cast in the role. Based on the hit videogame of the same name, Mazin developed The Last of Us television series adaptation in collaboration with the original game writer and director Neil Druckmann. Making its debut in January 2023, The Last of Us season 1 was widely praised by critics and viewers alike, with many extolling the stellar performances of Pascal and his co-star Bella Ramsey.

In a recent appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast (via The Hollywood Reporter), Mazin admitted that while Pascal was always on his list of potential actors, there was a time when it appeared that The Mandalorian star was unavailable to play Joel. In his stead, the show’s co-creator revealed he spoke to McConaughey at one point about the role, and his agent even rang to confirm his availability. While Mazin suggests that McConaughey “would have been great” in Pascal’s place, he remains happy with the show’s final casting decision. Check out his comments below:

“I did talk to Matthew I can’t say that it was like a series [of conversations]. It was more of a, ‘Hey, here’s something to talk about.’ Pedro was on our list from the start. We were told he was unavailable, and then as we were floundering about a little bit, I got a call from [McConaughey]’s agent who said, ‘You know, he actually might be available.’

Matthew McConaughey is an amazing actor. I’m sure it would have been great but it would have been different, and I like the one that we made, so what can I say, I think it worked out.”

Why Pedro Pascal Was The Right Choice To Play The Last Of Us’ Joel

Joel Embraces Ellie in The Last of Us season 1 episode 9 finale

While Pascal boasts a long list of screen credits dating back to the 1990s, it is only within the last nine years that he has really risen to prominence in the public eye. Thanks primarily to his roles in Game of Thrones and Narcos, the actor finally began to receive the widespread recognition that his talent deserved. His more recent roles on The Mandalorian and The Last of Us, coupled with his self-effacing public persona, would further cement his place as a bona fide fan favorite.

Pascal’s enormous popularity and irreverent charm aside, what makes him a great casting choice for Joel is the sense of danger he can so effortlessly bring to his performances. When Pascal was first announced as Joel, many prospective viewers cited his role as Grogu’s protector in The Mandalorian as proof of his potential in the role. While Din Djarin does indeed project many of the same fatherly instincts shared by Joel, he is also a cold and formidable warrior when circumstances force him to be. It is this same dangerous edge that makes Pascal such an excellent choice to play Joel.

Even Joel’s original voice actor from The Last Of Us games, Troy Baker, has praised Pascal’s take on the role, proclaiming him to be a more dangerous version of the character than his own. Few actors can balance the capacity for both benevolence and terrible harm that Pascal does so well. While it would have been interesting to see what McConaughey might have done with the role, Pascal was the right choice to play Joel.

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