‘Last Of Us’ Creator Reveals Matthew McConaughey Was Considered For Leading Role

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“The Last of Us” might have had a very different leading man if conversations with Matthew McConaughey had worked out differently.

The hit HBO series with Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal was a monster hit for HBO earlier in the year and one of the best series the network has ever done.

The post-apocalyptic thriller about a parasitic fungal infection destroying the world was incredibly dark and captivating. It gripped viewers by the throat and never let go.

Pascal was chilling as Joel as he looked out for Ellie (Ramsey) as they journey across the country. Well, there was a time when Matthew McConaughey was actually in the mix to play Joel if Pascal wasn’t available.

“The Last of Us” with Pedro Pascal was excellent. There were brief conversations with Matthew McConaughey about taking the role of Joel. (Credit: HBO)

“The Last of Us” would have looked much different with Matthew McConaughey.

When creator Craig Mazin was in the process of casting the show, there was a chance Pedro Pascal might not be available and all options were considered. A previous report claimed Mahershala Ali might have been in the mix, but those talks apparently never happened. However, there were at least casual conversations with the former “True Detective” star.

Mazin said the following during an interview with Josh Horowitz:

I actually never talked to Mahershala [Ali]. I did talk to Matthew [McConaughey]. I can’t say that it was serious. It was more of just like, ‘Hey, here’s something we can talk about.’ Pedro was on our list from the start. We were told he was unavailable, and then, as we were kind of floundering out a bit, I got a call from his agent who said, “You know, [Pascal] might be available.’ And I sent a script off, and normally when you send a script, you’re lucky if you get a reading within a month. He was in England at the time working on a movie. So, I thought between the movie and the time change over this will be forever. I sent it on a Friday. Saturday morning, I get a call. He loves it. He wants to get on a Zoom. Well, okay, that’s a pretty good sign…Matthew McConaughey is an amazing actor, I’m sure it would’ve been great. But it would’ve been different and I like the one that we made. So, what can I say? I think it worked out well.

The show would have had a very different vibe.

Let’s be clear that “The Last of Us” was perfect with Pascal and Ramsey leading the way. It was everything viewers were hoping it would be.

Swapping out Pascal for McConaughey would have significantly shifted the feel of the show. Both are great, but they’re different when going down a dark path.

McConaughey is unbelievably unsetting and sinister when tapping into that part of his acting toolbox. Look no further than season one of “True Detective” for proof of that fact.

Instead of landing on McConaughey, Pedro Pascal was freed up and the rest is history. He teamed up with Bella Ramsey to give fans one of the best shows we’ve seen in years.

It’s definitely worth your time if you haven’t already enjoyed “The Last of Us.”

Now, fans sit and wait for season two of “The Last of Us.” It could be a long time. I suggest you get comfortable and dive down the rabbit hole of different theories.

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.

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