The Last Of Us Star Nico Parker On Filming A Role, Navigating Hollywood And Nepotism

How well did you know the game before getting the role?

I mean, I’m not good with video games. I would have liked to play The last of us, But I did not do it. But I knew very well what it was. When I was younger, I watched players play the game. Then I went from that to watching the silent gameplay like it was a movie. Then, very strangely, and it actually sounds like a lie, but it really happened, a week before I had the audition, I was with my friend in my room, and we were like, “what movie should we watch?” I was like, “You know what we should watch? There’s this video game, but I swear it’s a movie.” We watched it, and we both cried and looked like a mess. We even got three hours of gameplay, which wasn’t even interactive for us. We just sit there gawking. Then a week later, I got the audition. It was crazy !

The universe is preparing you! Do you feel pressure that the video game has become cult, which may mean that fans will have high expectations of the series?

Everyone puts pressure on themselves. It’s hard not to, but we’ve all felt it. Absolutely. But it was easy because Craig and Neil are lovely, and they just took the pressure off the set. Filming got easier, but it was more about getting home, and you’re like, “oh my God!” I remember the day it was announced that I was in, I was like “whoa”. I hadn’t even realized how important all of this was. There’s definitely a pressure to live up to expectations and stay true to existing hardware while not exactly emulating what you see in-game. So there was pressure to want to do it justice. Also, the actors in the game are so wonderful, and you think about how you’re supposed to outplay those people, even if they’re just pixels. This pressure is therefore very present. As for the sets, Pedro is a wonderful human and a very comforting presence. So all of that made it so that when you’re filming, you don’t think about it. But, there were days when I would come home and be like, “I could have done better. It was horrible. However, it’s on any set, but it intensifies when there are already people who are fanatics of the show.

Your character Sarah is the daughter of Joel, played by the amazing Pedro Pascal. How was the dynamic of filming with him, because he had much heavier and more intense scenes?

It was amazing because [Nico and Pedro’s scenes] was the very first thing that was filmed for The last of us. So it was just Pedro and me for a while. When I say that, I’m afraid he’ll say in interviews, “Yeah, she’s nice,” but he’s definitely one of my best friends. It was wonderful because there’s a pressure to get along with someone, and when you play my dad, it’s like we have to get along. We have a week to give the impression that we have known each other for fourteen years. But very quickly it was like, “Oh, you’re my friend, and that’s awesome.” So that continued throughout filming, and when it came to the most intense scenes between the two of us, it all came together towards the end of filming, which I was grateful for because by then we already knew each other. The limits had been removed by then, and there was no embarrassment, and you could ask someone for anything. It’s just all that initial energy to please people that has been taken away from us. He is wonderful. I don’t have enough kind words to say about him.

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