It might be hard to imagine anyone other than Pedro Pascal playing Joel The last of usbut series co-creator Craig Mazin confirmed that an Oscar-winning actor was also in talks for the role.
During a recent episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast with Josh Horowitz, the show’s boss noted that he “did talk to Matthew (McConaughey)” at one point.
“I can’t say it was like a series (conversations). It was more like, ‘Hey, here’s something to talk about,'” he explained. “Pedro was on our list from the start. We were told he wasn’t available, and while we were plodding along a bit, I got a call from his agent who said, ‘You know, he might be available.’”
Mazin further elaborated on Pascal’s enthusiasm for the series after reading the script for the first time.
“Normally, when you send scripts to actors like that, you’re lucky if you get read within a month,” he said, pointing out that the actor was filming a movie in England at the time. “I sent it (script) on a Friday, I get a call Saturday morning… he loves it, he wants to come on a Zoom.”
After thinking “that was a pretty good sign,” they all hopped on a Zoom and “had what I think was possibly the nicest Zoom I’ve ever had. I mean…just love at first sight, and he was immediately clear about it.
Pascal starred opposite Bella Ramsey, who played Ellie, in the hit action drama. Mazin and video game creator Neil Druckmann served as the show’s writers and showrunners.
Mazin added: “Matthew McConaughey is a great actor. I’m sure it would have been great, but it would have been different, and I love the one we made, so what can I say, I think it worked out.
During the day The Hollywood Reporter‘s Drama Actor Roundtable last month, Pascal also spoke about the pressure he felt doing a show that already had a huge fan base before the The last of us game.
“This time I was scared. I was so scared,” the actor said during the interview. “Because there was more of a visible silhouette, perhaps a silhouette of coolness, and an expectation that had to be met in terms of people’s immersive experience with the story. And to disappoint them in that regard felt like it would be… I don’t know. You don’t want to disappoint people, but no one is insensitive to disappointing people. I want people to like me.”