The Last of Us actor reveals who almost played Joel instead of Pedro Pascal

6 March 2023, 14:10

By Katie Louise Smith

Mahershala Ali was reportedly seriously considered for the leading role of Joel before Pedro Pascal was cast.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

After eight episodes, it's literally impossible to imagine The Last of Us without Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller now. Over the course of season one, Pedro has embodied the role of everyone's fave post-apocalypse dad perfectly. But did you know that another actor was seriously considered for the role, too?

As soon as the HBO adaptation of the popular game series was announced, the conversation surrounding who would play Joel began heating up. Pedro has long been one of the the fan favourites to portray Joel, alongside a handful of other names.

Now, Jeffrey Pierce, who played Tommy Miller in the games and Perry in the HBO series, has revealed that Moonlight and True Detective actor Mahershala Ali was also seriously considered for the leading role.

READ MORE: Pedro Pascal forgot he was cast as Joel in The Last of Us after taking an Ambien

Who almost played Joel in The Last of Us before Pedro Pascal?
Who almost played Joel in The Last of Us before Pedro Pascal? Picture: HBO

In an interview with The Direct, Jeffrey explained that before the HBO series was made, there were talks of The Last of Us being turned into a "motion-capture cinematic" animated series.

When asked if he had any hopes of reprising his role as Tommy, Jeffrey said: "No, not in the course of the HBO show. There have been a couple of different iterations over time. There was a movie at one point. There was a motion-capture cinematic animated series at one point. And both of those are things that I thought, ‘I got a pretty good shot at being involved to some degree.’"

Of course, as we now know, Jeffrey did end up being involved in the HBO series, appearing in two episodes as the heavily-armed rebel Perry. Reflecting on the past conversations about the adaptations that never came to fruition, he continued: "But that was a long time ago and a lot of white beard in the past."

He then revealed: "I think initially they had talked to Mahershala Ali about playing Joel, which is an obvious cue that I’m not gonna play Tommy… And when they cast Pedro [Pascal], I knew like, yeah, that was certainly not going to happen regardless, I’m older than Pedro Pascal. So I was not under harboring any illusions about that, for sure.”

Mahershala Ali was considered for the role of Joel Miller in The Last of Us
Mahershala Ali was considered for the role of Joel Miller in The Last of Us. Picture: Getty

Mahershala Ali's reported almost-casting was detailed by The Hollywood Reporter back in 2021 when the casting of Bella Ramsey was confirmed.

Noting the speculation that the two-time Oscar-winning actor had been offered the role, THR reported: "Ali did circle a role, say sources, but a deal ever came to fruition."

As incredible as Mahershala's performance would have no doubt been, Pedro Pascal was an absolutely phenomenal and perfect choice to portray Joel. It's impossible to imagine the character without Pedro now.

Read more The Last of Us news here:

WATCH: Munroe Bergdorf Paints A Self-Portrait And Answers Questions About Her Life