Frankly, that makes a lot of sense. Different actors will inevitably offer different perspectives on whether or not it is best to lose themselves in the material associated with an established character/figure they portray, or whether it is best to resist the temptation to impress even unintentionally. There are arguments for and against both approaches, and many actors eventually decide to use a mix of both approaches.
At the risk of putting too many words in her mouth, that seems to be the basic approach Bella Ramsey is talking about here. Ashley Johnson’s Ellie performance is incredible, of course, but the power of Johnson’s performance may be one more reason not to study it too closely. After all, despite what Johnson may have led us to believe, Ellie is not a real person. Someone playing a historical, real-life figure would, of course, study the imagery of that figure quite closely to imitate elements of it, but it would be a little unusual for one actor to study another actor’s performance so closely if he were playing the same one. role.
As for the idea that Ramsey would actually have to play the games to understand her character… well, that’s a pretty weak argument at best. Not only have the producers/creators of the show asked Ramsey not to follow too closely the in-game version of Ellie, but I’m struggling to see Bella Ramsey slowly pecking off clickers as Joel her Ellie performance during largely silent sections. would be significantly beneficial. Speaking of which, Pedro Pascal has also said that he didn’t play the games to avoid “imitating” Joel, so Ramsey’s decision to do the same is not unusual.
At least everything we’ve seen from HBO’s The last of us looks really exceptional so far. While the history of live-action video game adaptations tells us not to hope too soon, The last of us becomes that groundbreaking production that gives future customizations something to aspire to.