How Pedro Pascal’s New Take on Joel in HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ Surprised Even the Original Voice Actor

In HBO’s dramatic adaptation of the popular video game “The Last of Us,” Pedro Pascal’s interpretation of Joel Miller has not only captivated audiences but also impressed Troy Baker, who originally lent his voice to Joel in the video game. This remarkable series has seamlessly made the transition from game console to the television screen, earning accolades for its deep character explorations and compelling storytelling. One of the most striking aspects of this adaptation is how Pascal’s portrayal brings a new depth to Joel, revealing layers of the character that even Baker admits were enlightening.

How Pedro Pascal's New Take on Joel in HBO's 'The Last of Us' Surprised Even the Original Voice Actor
Pedro Pascal Redefines Joel

Troy Baker Reflects on Pascal’s Unexpected Depth

In an exclusive interview with Vulture, Troy Baker shared his astonishment at Pascal’s ability to uncover new facets of Joel’s personality.

His performance continually surprises and teaches me new facets of Joel’s character,

Baker explained. Initially content to observe the adaptation from the sidelines, Baker was eventually drawn into the project, taking on the role of James, a pragmatic lieutenant in a cannibalistic cult. This opportunity allowed Baker to explore new dimensions of the narrative, but it was Pascal’s vulnerability and nuanced portrayal of Joel that truly stood out to him.

How Pedro Pascal's New Take on Joel in HBO's 'The Last of Us' Surprised Even the Original Voice Actor
Surprising the Original Joel

Baker, known for his roles in acclaimed games like “BioShock Infinite” and “Uncharted 4,” found that the television format allowed Pascal to delve deeper into emotional territories that the game could not fully explore.

This nuanced portrayal revealed layers of Joel that I myself hadn’t considered,

Baker noted, expressing a wish to revisit his own performance with this new understanding.

The Expanded Universe of “The Last of Us”

The transition to a television series has afforded “The Last of Us” the ability to expand its narrative scope, offering viewers a more in-depth look at the supporting characters and their backstories. Characters like Bill, Frank, Tommy, and Maria are brought to life with new vibrancy, adding to the richness of the show’s world. Additionally, Bella Ramsey’s portrayal of Ellie offers a fresh perspective that aligns beautifully with Ashley Johnson’s original depiction in the game. Ramsey’s decision to avoid playing the game to prevent mimicking Johnson has paid off, resulting in a portrayal that is both authentic and original.

How Pedro Pascal's New Take on Joel in HBO's 'The Last of Us' Surprised Even the Original Voice Actor
HBO’s Fresh Character Twist

A Learning Experience for Baker

Baker also touched on his transition from voice acting to appearing on set, describing it as a significant learning curve. The shift from a controlled booth environment to the dynamic, resource-rich film set was both challenging and rewarding. He emphasized that the core task of making a character feel authentic remains the same, whether in a booth or on a massive set.

How Pedro Pascal's New Take on Joel in HBO's 'The Last of Us' Surprised Even the Original Voice Actor
New Depths in Acting

A Resounding Success for HBO

“The Last of Us” has not only succeeded in bringing a beloved game to a broader audience but has also enhanced the narrative through stellar performances by Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. Their ability to breathe new life into Joel and Ellie has resonated deeply with fans and critics alike, securing the show’s place as a standout success on HBO. Pascal’s transformative performance, in particular, has redefined Joel Miller, offering a fresh, emotionally resonant take on a beloved character and setting a new benchmark for adaptations of this nature.

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