In the escapist medium of action-adventure gaming, Naughty Dog's magnum opus 'The Last Of Us' can already be considered a timeless masterpiece. It manages to do something very few games have; combining a narrative that could easily be considered a modern day parable with tremble-inducing, pant-wettingly frantic gameplay. It effortlessly conjures up a completely obliterated world riddled with ex-human, fungal-infected monstrosities that would be a godforsaken horror to actually inhabit. Unfortunately the two central protagonists Joel and Ellie are forced to make do - but these aren't your average one-dimensional, serial killing video game protagonists. Joel and Ellie transcend the game itself, leaping from the screen like real human beings, instilling empathy in all who play as them. Through the vessel of these characters, The Last Of Us becomes more than just a game. It's a story about human relationships, family and survival. Unsurprising it is then, that the epic tale is now set to be adapted into a fully-fledged, big screen movie. The game's creative director Neil Druckmann will pen the script, and Naughty Dog presidents Christophe Balestra and Evan Wells will be involved as 'Creative Architects'. Cult horror-maestro Sam Raimi is also set to work on the picture as producer. If the Naughty Dog guys ensure that the depth of the narrative is fully realised and Raimi injects his expertise into the fray, it could possibly be the first ever truly great movie adaptation of a video game amongst a rather tarnished history of former attempts (2005's Alone In The Dark, anyone?). However, due to the reliance that the game has on strong, believable characters, casting especially that of Joel and Ellie - could easily make or break the film. But who could undertake such demanding roles? Often described web-wide in reviews, blogs and opinion pieces as one of the 'best video game characters of all time', Ellie is a tough yet occasionally delicate 14-year-old heroine, with a cocksure intelligence and world-weariness that extends way beyond her years. She's been worn down by the chaotic world around her, burying the bright-eyed optimism that would be typical of a girl her age under a will to survive and an infatuation for fragments of the past. The perfect actress for the part would have the appearance of seemingly being around 14 years old, but the ability to emotionally extend beyond that age, expressing equal parts naivety, curiosity and strength, with a penchant for quirky, pun-based jokes. Without further ado, let's start to grease the wheels of speculation, and countdown the top 10 actresses who could in theory match (at least some of) those criteria:
Honorable Mention: Ellen Page
Let's be honest, Ellen Page basically is Ellie. If age wasn't an issue, there isn't an actress that would suit Ellie down to the ground more than Ellen Page. In fact, Page has even complained about the game stating that Naughty Dog had '"stolen her likeness." Analysing multiple facets of Ellie, it'd be hard to argue with her. First off, there's the aesthetics. Ellie has a very similar facial structure to Ellen, looking (probably) just as Ellen would've in primary school. In fact, the original concept art depicting Ellie was even more similar to Page's likeness. But even when Naughty Dog changed it for the final game, Ellie still bore a remarkable resemblance. Then there's the multiple parallels in terms of character traits between Ellie and Ellen's parts in films such as Juno and Super. Quips and dialogue are transcendently ripe with sarcasm and the excitement of danger. Page's role in Super provides exactly the same curiosity in regards to being a superhero as Ellie's does in regards to the world she never knew. Page's sense of humour in Juno is as dry as Ellie's, and voice actress Ashley Johnson even has similar tone and speech inflections to Page. There really are too many parallels to mention. But it is for these same reasons - along with the fact that it would be pretty ridiculous to cast a 27 year old in the part of a 14 year old - that Page's involvement in the film would be rather unlikely. But she does still deserve a mention, mostly because she could very well have provided inspiration for the original character itself.