Bella Ramsey, a rising star known for her fierce portrayal of Lyanna Mormont in HBO’s Game of Thrones, has continued to build her career with roles in series like Hilda and His Dark Materials. However, it was her casting as Ellie Williams in The Last of Us that brought her back into the spotlight, as she plays one of the most beloved characters in video games.
In an interview with Good Day DC’s Kevin McCarthy, Ramsey shared an experience from one of her first auditions, stating, “I was told that the director really liked me, but I didn’t get the part because I didn’t have the Hollywood look. That’s something that has always struck me as very interesting.”
Ramsey’s casting as Ellie in The Last of Us was met with some controversy among fans, which took the actress by surprise. She revealed, “This is the first time I had a negative reaction to something.”
Luckily, the creator of The Last of Us, Craig Mazin, knew exactly what they were looking for in the character: “We’re looking for a girl or someone who can convincingly portray a girl who has this supernatural wisdom with this impossible combination of youth and experience. Plus, she needs to be funny, tough, violent, and self-protective.”
While Ramsey had her own doubts about joining the series, she ultimately embraced the opportunity: “Signing on for a series is a big risk because if I hate it, then I’m potentially tied to it for years, and I didn’t want to be tied to something I didn’t enjoy. But honestly, I would do this for years.”
Even though there is a five-year gap between the storylines of the first and second video games, the creators have confirmed that Ramsey will continue to play Ellie. Mazin assured fans, “When she joined us, she was 17 years old. She’s only 19 years old now. Which, by the way, is Ellie’s age in The Last of Us Part II. People were saying, ‘She doesn’t look like Ellie.’ I’m like, ‘It doesn’t matter. Just watch what happens.’ And now they know.”
In a nod to the original game, Ashley Johnson, the actress who voiced Ellie in the video games, appears in the series as Bella Ramsey’s character’s mother.