HBO’s The last of us the series aired its first episode last weekend, introducing the world to live-action counterparts to some very iconic characters. One such actor, Gabriel Luna, talked about how he got into his character.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Luna — who plays Tommy in the series — was asked how much he relied on the performance of Jeffrey Pierce (who played Tommy in the game) for his own interpretation. According to Luna, he actually played the game and tried to look at the character as more of a real person to study.
“I felt it was important to play through it and get a true sense of what Jeffrey Pierce had done with Tommy’s voice and performance capture in the games,” Luna said. “So as I played it through and got to know Tommy, it became more and more clear that we were in the same channel, energetically, historically and culturally. There were a lot of similarities there. After Craig and Neil saw my tape, they told to me that they saw Tommy’s soul, and I started to understand what they were saying when I was introduced to Tommy. That said, knowing the place where he was born and raised, it felt pretty natural to play him.”
“The interesting thing is that we’re talking about him like he’s a real person,” Luna continued. “Having been created 10 years ago, he has a history with the fans and a place in the game space, character-wise. So you approach it a bit like a biopic about a person who exists in life. I tried to absorb what I thought was important and what players will hope for in a true translation of the game.”
Luna also mentioned that since both are technically from Austin, Texas, he was able to get even more into character that way.
“Of course, you also have to live in the moment with all the varying changes in the story that we incorporated into our version. You have to react to them as naturally and as honestly as possible, so the character will obviously be different because of the new circumstances. But Tommy is from Austin. I’m from Austin. The character and I were simpatico the whole way,” Luna said.
Joining Luna in the series are Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as Joel and Ellie, Nico Parker (Dumbo) as Joel’s daughter Sarah, Anna Torv (Mindhunter) as Tess and Merle Dandridge (The flight attendant), as she reprises her role from the video games as Marlene, the leader of a resistance group known as the Fireflies. It also features Jeffrey Pierce (Bosch) as Perry, Murray Bartlett (The white lotus) as Frank, Con O’Neill (Chernobyl) as Bill, and Storm Reid (Euphoria) as Riley.