Ashley Johnson is Ellie’s mother. It is read as it is read: in relation to being the person who forged the personality of the character and in relation to being, within the universe of The last of us, your mother. Anna, a character never seen and little known, is the protagonist at the beginning of the ninth and last episode of the season. EL ESPAÑOL interviewed the actress who gave it life.
After more than ten years as Ellie in games, you appear playing her mother in the last episode just before one of the most iconic sequences. After all you’ve been through, does this honor make it clear that it can’t be in vain?
The interpreter’s face lights up in the middle of the question, when she realizes that a very symbolic phrase from Ellie is used to formulate the question. “Amazing,” he exclaims between chuckles before starting to answer.
The actress is passionate about her work and each of the responses she gives about it, full of emotion, shows: “Among all my works, The last of us it’s my favorite. I love the characters, the story and this project.” Johnson tells how during the long process of creating the games, both the “Naughty Dog family”, the studio responsible for the video game, and the actors, became “very close “. .
Added to this investment of time and effort was a “concern” for the characters. He mentions conversations with Neil Druckmann, the creator, and Troy Baker, who plays Joel in the games, so that every scene felt “genuine and true”. It was a “collaborative” work, something that is not common in these cases.
A “proud” mother
Their attachment to the original work was rewarded when they wanted to include it in the series, something that is unusual: “It’s incredible that I was allowed to be part of this. It was a surprise because normally when adapting video games, video game actors don’t take voice and movement into account to make that leap.”
After more than a decade as Ellie, she has handed over the baton and is convinced that the person who received it is the right person. In his opinion, “no one else could have played this role”: “Finally got to watch the last episode last night and… it’s fucking good.”
[Crítica: ‘The Last of Us’ 1×09, un final para seguir debatiendo diez años más]
“That blows me away. It’s going to sound weird, but I’m proud of her. I feel a connection. Because we both love this character. And there’s a part of her that is Ellie. So that’s why I want to take care of her. I feel like she’s my daughter, I want to make sure the world doesn’t hurt her,” she says, visibly emotional.
Given that, for her this transition is still “strange” and “in a way, it’s difficult”. The fact that it was Ramsey who was in charge of playing Ellie helped: “We had to fight for her, she was the right person. She is Elie, she has her essence. I felt comfortable knowing she was in charge.”
your own way
That said, he is grateful that Ramsey was able to “put his stamp” on the character and “make him his own”. He praises her “depth and talent”, which helped to “improve” the character: “She added so much more to Ellie than we were capable of in the game.”
When talking about Ramsey, Johnson inadvertently confuses the name of her character and the actress: “There were times when She… She? What the fuck?” Realizing, he laughs at his mistake: “Either I say She or I say Bellie, which is what everyone called her during filming.“.
[Crítica: ‘The Last of Us’, una adaptación a la altura que muestra los contrastes y las dos caras del ser humano]
After that moment where Ellie could have starred, he continues, “There were moments and scenes where Ellie was able to say things that I feel like I never got to say. She was able to stand up for herself and stand up for herself. To Joel or anyone. It’s cathartic and makes me so happy to see this character grow even more and have more of a say in her own life. He’s weird and crazy.”
As he confesses, Druckmann, who is his friend, warned him by message that they would adapt the game for a series before it was announced. “Would you like to play Ellie’s mother?” she asked. “Then my eyes started streaming tears everywhere,” describes Johnson.
[Así nació ‘de improviso’ la serie de ‘The Last of Us’: “Cruzamos la calle y se la presentamos a HBO”]
She was very excited about the possibility of this role and what it meant: “Because of the metaphor of bringing her into the world and being the first person to fight to keep her alive and make it clear it’s my baby. I want her to be alive, safe, happy and able to have a life.”
Asked about her favorite scene in this universe, she cites one of the The Last of Us Part II Involving a cassette and a museum: “It’s a beautiful, heartbreaking moment” that she cherishes because that “tenderness” is “hard to find” in that world.
When talking about the second game and praising Pedro Pascal’s performance and how it will be in the following season, he throws, between laughs, a petition to HBO on behalf of Joel and Ellie: “Can’t you do part two and they can go anywhere and be happy together? I just want them to be okay but… that’s not going to happen.”