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The Last of Us clicks with critics and viewers


The highly-anticipated HBO series The Last of Us, which was shot primarily in Calgary and southern Alberta, premiered Sunday to rave reviews from fans and critics alike.

In fact, according to a story in the British newspaper The Independent, The Last of Us scored 97 per cent positive reviews, ranking it at the top of video game adaptations.

Thursday, cast member Gabriel Luna, who plays Tommy Miller on the show, was asked what he thought the key was to the show's success.

"Always the people," Luna said, in an interview with CTV News' Camilla Di Giuseppe. "Always the characters. Namely our principals Joel and Ellie -- our leads -- and that beautiful relationship, one of hopefully found family.

"People who have seen the (opening) episode already know it's the loss of family that sets the story in motion."

Those relationships are driven in part by Luna's character Tommy.

"Tommy Miller is Joel's younger brother," Luna said. "Once the outbreak happens and the world becomes the dangerous place that it becomes, it's Tommy and Joel trying to trudge their way through it, and survive it.

"They're definitely reliant upon each other in that way but through circumstances and their own collisions of philosophy, they find themselves separate and what you get to see in our story is a hopeful reunion."


While the response to the show has been overwhelmingly positive so far, Luna said as an actor on set, it's always a bit of a guessing game as to whether what you're making is going to hit or miss with an audience – particularly with a project like The Last of Us, which had a dedicated, passionate following as a video game.

"I knew what we had in the can and we were all very dedicated," he said.

"There was a lot of love for the game among the people on the set so we had a good sense that we made something good and that we could be proud of it once it came out, but no one can anticipate how the audience will react," he added. "How they will react to the marketing of it and how they will react to the pilot itself?

"But when we started to kind of – when some information started to trickle in -- you started to get the sense we maybe had lightning in a bottle, and then Sunday came, and it was released."

As far as shooting in Alberta, Luna said it was pretty memorable, for both the good and bad.

"The length of principal photography was 217 days which is a very long time," Luna said. "I was probably here for five months of that time. I got to experience Calgary in the summer, which was just glorious. I got to learn how to fly fish and experience Alberta's natural beauty.

"[Then I] returned, in the winter, to the coldest month of my life," he said. "I had never quite experienced anything like it.

"It was only like -19 or -20 and all the crew members were telling me I was being a big baby," he said. "But they said 'wait until its -40 and then come talk to me!'

"But I loved it," he added. "I loved being here.

"I'm just happy to be back."

A screening of episode 1 was held at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium on Thursday evening, hosted by the Alberta Film Commission and the Calgary International Film Festival.

About 1,000 people including politicians, celebrities and crew that worked on the TV series were there. Top Stories

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