“The Last of Us,” a critically acclaimed television series, has captivated audiences worldwide with its gripping narrative, complex characters, and immersive post-apocalyptic world. Based on the popular video game of the same name developed by Naughty Dog, the show has been praised for its faithful adaptation and the addition of new depth to the story and characters. One of the aspects that has garnered significant attention is the series’ filming locations, which play a crucial role in bringing the desolate yet beautiful world of “The Last of Us” to life. This exploration delves into the various locations where the series was filmed, the significance of these settings in enhancing the narrative, and concludes with common questions about the filming process.
Filming Locations of “The Last of Us”
“The Last of Us” series weaves its story across a post-pandemic United States, with characters journeying through ruined cities, deserted towns, and lush, overgrown environments. The production team went to great lengths to select locations that would authentically represent the game’s iconic settings, resulting in a visually stunning and geographically diverse backdrop that enhances the storytelling.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
The bulk of “The Last of Us” was filmed in and around Calgary, Alberta. Calgary’s diverse landscapes and urban environments provided the perfect canvas for the series, allowing for the depiction of various U.S. locations without needing to travel extensively. From the downtown streets that were transformed into the desolate ruins of Boston and Austin to the rural areas around the city that doubled for wilderness areas, Calgary was instrumental in achieving the series’ visual aesthetic.
The Canadian Rockies
The breathtaking landscapes of the Canadian Rockies were used to represent the wilderness areas of the United States that characters traverse on their journey. The mountainous regions, dense forests, and natural beauty of the Rockies contributed to some of the series’ most visually striking scenes, highlighting the contrast between the beauty of the natural world and the devastation caused by the pandemic.
Parts of Edmonton, Alberta, were also used for filming, particularly for scenes set in more urban or suburban environments. Edmonton’s architecture and neighborhoods provided a variety of backdrops that were seamlessly integrated into the series’ depiction of a country ravaged by infection and societal collapse.
Other Locations in Alberta
In addition to Calgary and Edmonton, the production utilized various other locations throughout Alberta to represent different parts of the post-apocalyptic United States. These included smaller towns and natural areas, which allowed for the depiction of the series’ diverse settings, from deserted suburbs to hidden settlements.
Significance of Filming Locations
The choice of filming locations was crucial in bringing the world of “The Last of Us” to life. The series’ creators aimed to immerse viewers in a world that is at once hauntingly familiar and eerily alien. The locations in Alberta, with their mix of urban, suburban, and natural landscapes, provided the perfect setting to tell the story of Joel and Ellie’s journey across a post-apocalyptic America. The ability to depict varied environments without significant travel also enabled the production to maintain continuity and authenticity in the visual storytelling.
Common Questions About the Filming of “The Last of Us”
- Why was Calgary chosen as the primary filming location? Calgary offered a unique blend of urban environments, natural beauty, and logistical convenience, making it an ideal stand-in for the many American locales depicted in the series.
- Were any scenes filmed in the actual locations they represent in the series? Most scenes were filmed in Alberta, Canada, using local settings to represent various U.S. locations, rather than filming in the actual cities and states depicted in the story.
- Did the production face any challenges due to weather? Filming in Alberta meant dealing with a range of weather conditions, from snowy winters to warm summers, which required careful planning and flexibility.
- How did the production team decide on the locations? The production team, along with the creators and directors, scouted locations that would best match the visual and thematic needs of the series, considering factors like accessibility, visual appeal, and authenticity.
- Were any sets built for the series, or were all locations natural? While many scenes utilized natural and existing urban environments, some required the construction of sets to accurately depict certain locations from the game.
- How did the use of Canadian locations affect the series’ budget? Filming in Canada, where the production could take advantage of tax incentives and lower costs compared to some U.S. locations, likely had a positive impact on the budget.
- Did the actors undergo any special preparation for filming in these locations? Actors participated in various forms of preparation, including physical training and survival skills, to authentically portray their characters’ journey across challenging environments.
- Was the choice of locations influenced by the video game? Yes, the choice of locations was heavily influenced by the game, with the team striving to match the game’s iconic settings as closely as possible.
- How long did filming take? The exact duration of filming varied by season, but it typically spanned several months, taking into account the need to shoot in different locations and under varying weather conditions.
- Did the series use any special techniques to enhance the locations? The production utilized a combination of practical effects, set design, and digital effects to enhance the locations and create the post-apocalyptic world.
- Were any locations digitally altered in post-production? Yes, digital alterations were made in post-production to some locations to better fit the narrative and visual style of the series.
- How did local communities react to the filming? Local communities were generally supportive, with many residents excited to see their hometowns transformed and featured in the series.
- Did filming impact the local economy? Filming significantly benefited the local economy, creating jobs and boosting local businesses through the production’s various needs.
- Were there any environmental concerns with filming in natural locations? The production team took measures to minimize their environmental impact, adhering to local regulations and best practices for filming in natural settings.
- How did the series’ creators ensure the locations matched the game’s aesthetic? The creators worked closely with the production designers and location scouts to ensure that each location closely mirrored the game’s aesthetic and atmosphere.
- Did the pandemic affect the filming schedule? While the series is set in a post-pandemic world, real-world COVID-19 pandemic precautions likely impacted the filming schedule, requiring adherence to health and safety protocols.
- Will the same locations be used for future seasons? While specific plans for future seasons may vary, it’s likely that the production will continue to use locations in Alberta, given their success in creating the series’ iconic settings.
The filming locations of “The Last of Us” are more than just backdrops; they are integral to the storytelling, bringing the post-apocalyptic world of Joel and Ellie vividly to life. The series showcases the beauty and diversity of Alberta’s landscapes, from urban ruins to natural wilderness, creating a rich, immersive world that resonates with fans of the game and new viewers alike. As “The Last of Us” continues to captivate audiences, the choices in locations will remain a testament to the creative vision behind this adaptation, blending the fictional with the real in a way that deeply enhances the emotional and narrative depth of the story.