Script Apart is a podcast about the first drafts of great movies. Or at least, it usually is. Today, in the final episode of our 2021 awards season mini-series, we’re delving deep into this year’s BAFTA Game Awards’ Game of The Year – The Last of Us Part II, with director Neil Druckmann and co-writer Halley Gross.
If you’ve played this emotionally devastating survival thriller, you’ll know exactly why we wanted to cover it on this show. Set in a post-apocalyptic America brought to its knees by a parasitic infection, the game caught up with teenage survivor Ellie, five years after the events of the first Last Of Us. What begins as a tale of revenge eventually gives way to a profound meditation on the futility of violence, split into an ambitious two-part structure that forces players to empathise with the so-called enemy. There’s a reason why it sold over four million copies in its first weekend alone: The Last of Us Part II is a masterpiece in storytelling, full of brilliantly realised characters and sharp observations on who we are and who we could be as a society.
We caught up with Neil and Halley to hear about how they wrote the game, turning back the clock to an early, open-world iteration of the Last of Us Part II that had a very different ending. Across a fascinating conversation, covering as much about this 20-hour game in forty minutes as humanly possible, we discuss the parts of their own lives they drew on to tell this story, the theme-building advice of author Robert McKee that helped shape The Last Of Us, and how a single detail in their first draft of the game’s final scene almost cast the future of the franchise in a totally different light.
Speaking of the future – you may want to stick around till the end for some tantalising updates on a potential Last Of Us Part III, as well as the upcoming HBO TV series based on the first game. This is of course a spoiler-filled conversation so if you’re yet to play this astonishing game, hit pause, grab a copy on PlayStation today, then come back as we delve into every detail of this phenomenal game.
Support for this episode comes from Arc Studio – the beautifully-designed screenwriting programme whose intuitive interface and host of innovative features helps you get the most out of your writing time – and Coverfly, who curate the best screenwriting talent-discovery programs into one place and connect emerging screenwriters with industry professionals who can bring their ideas to screen.
Script Apart is a podcast about the first-draft secrets behind great movies. Each episode, the screenwriter behind a beloved film shares with us their initial screenplay for that movie. We then talk through what changed, what didn’t and why on its journey to the big screen. All proceeds go to Black Minds Matter UK, the NHS Charities Covid-19 Appeal and the Film and TV Charity.
Script Apart is hosted by Al Horner and produced by Kamil Dymek, with music from Stefan Bindley-Taylor. You can follow Script Apart on Twitter and Instagram. You can also email us on email@example.com.