HBO’s The Last of Us Series officially has a new director. The Oscar-nominated Beanpole director Kantemir Balagov will direct the adaptation of Naughty Dog’s hit post-apocalyptic adventure game, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Beanpole, a drama focused on two women in post-WWII Leningrad, was selected as Russia’s entry for Best International Feature Film for the 92nd Academy Awards in 2019, but ultimately lost to South Korea’s Parasite. Beanpole earned Balagov the Cannes Film Festival’s best director award in 2019.
Balagov also directed 2017’s drama Closeness, a drama centering on a kidnapping of a young couple and the subsequent ransoming.
Balagov’s somber aesthetic is likely a factor in HBO’s decision to hire him, likely ensuring a dark tone congruent with the original game’s harrowing tale, and likely pairs well with writer and executive producer Craig Mazin. Mazin’s Chernobyl series was similarly known for being visually and thematically somber.
It was originally reported that the project would reunite Mazin and Chernobyl director Johan Renck, at least for the first episode, but THR reports that he has dropped out due to a scheduling conflict.
Every Video Game Movie in Development (Almost)
The Last of Us series was officially greenlit by HBO in November last year. The game’s creative director and writer Neil Druckmann is also writing and executive producing the series.
Sony Pictures Chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra announced in December last year that the studio is currently developing seven shows and three movies based on PlayStation properties. Vinciquerra didn’t clarify if The Last of Us series and Uncharted film were included in that count.
The Last of Us series doesn’t have an official premier date, but it’s estimated that it may debut alongside The Walking Dead’s final season.
Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer/clicker for IGN.