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As soon as the video game The Last of Us was released in 2014, fans immediately began calling for Hollywood to bring it to live-action. After some years without much forward progress, The Last of Us was gloriously scooped up by HBO in March 2020, and is currently in the development stages. As such, it likely won't get to casting the major roles for a while, but that hasn't stopped fans from dream-casting the post-apocalyptic thriller, with Last Man Standing's Kaitlyn Dever as the fan-favorite choice for co-lead Ellie.
Given Ellie's young age, and Kaitlyn Dever's ever-youthful appearance, the connection between the character and actress isn't too hard to comprehend. The main thing that has been a mystery, however, is what Dever herself thinks about fans' efforts to get her noticed by The Last of Us' producers and casting team. It's a mystery no longer, however, with the actress giving an optimistic response to Collider that referenced her prior history with Last of Us' writer and co-director, Neil Druckman. In her words:
I obviously have been seeing the Internet, and I’ve obviously been seeing a lot of that. Neil Druckman, I worked with him on Uncharted 4. I think he’s one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met, and one of the sweetest. And I’m not shutting it down, you know? I’m not shutting it down. I would absolutely love to do that. I don’t know where it’s at yet, but I love The Last of Us.
Rather than playing completely coy or avoiding the question altogether, Kaitlyn Dever actually made a case for herself to be cast as Ellie for the HBO adaptation of The Last of Us. For one, she's a fan of the game independently of anyone's plans to get it adapted for live-action. For another, she already had a working relationship with Neil Druckman, who will be part of the TV show's creative team (along with Chernobyl showrunner Craig Mazen). Obviously that's not the recipe for a guaranteed acting gig in Hollywood, since such guarantees don't exist, but Dever's enthusiasm goes a long way.
Below is the first part of Kaitlyn Dever's The Last of Us answer, in which she gets a little more into her personal love for the game.
This is the first time I’ve been asked about this. Listen, I am a huge fan of the game. And I don't know if a lot of people know that, but I'm saying it now: I am a huge fan of that video game. I think it is a beautiful story. It’s just a wonderful narrative, and I fell in love with that game when it came out. I played it with my dad, and we just had the best time. I'm not very good at it; my aim is really bad, but I'm working on getting better at playing.
It's definitely time for Kaitlyn Dever to get better at playing The Last of Us, considering its sequel The Last of Us 2 is supposed to be getting a wide release later this year. (Though it might be delayed for a while.)
Having made a big name for herself with TV audiences alongside Tim Allen on Last Man Standing, Kaitlyn Dever's career got quite busy after the sitcom was cancelled at ABC. The actress earned huge waves of acclaim for her work on the Netflix true crime miniseries Unbelievable and the feature comedy Booksmart, proving she can do much more than play a snarky sitcom daughter. She still hasn't returned to Last Man Standing full-time, having only appeared in one Season 8 episode so far, so she appears to be keeping her options open for the future.
Kaitlyn Dever was also recently at the center of rumors surrounding Batgirl's casting, which is another role that the actress would definitely take. I can't imagine she would have time to take on both roles at once, unless the productions would take place during completely different times. That said, the industry is full of actresses who would make great Barbara Gordons, but has far fewer stars that would fit the Ellie mold so perfectly.
Stay tuned for more information about HBO's The Last of Us, as well as what Kaitlyn Dever will be up to next. While waiting, check out when Last Man Standing and other shows will be airing their season finales in the coming months.