Following widespread acclaim for his deeply moving portrayal of Bill in episode 3 of HBO’s The Last of Us live adaptation, actor Nick Offerman had an admission – he’s never played the game it is based upon.
In an appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Kimmell Live on US TV on Wednesday night, the actor said his gaming exploits came to an end a quarter of a century ago.
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The culprit? A brief addiction to the N64 game Banjo Kazooie, which Offerman said he “lost a couple of weeks to” and was enough to swear him off gaming for good.
“Two weeks went by and I was like ‘oh my god’ the slow dopamine drip is so delicious. Then it’s over and you’re like ‘yes I won’ and immediately I’m like ‘what have I done with my life?’ And so I decided I’m never going to do that again.”
You might think failing to engage with the source material for The Last of Us was a dereliction of the actor’s duty. However, it’s unlikely to have messed with the way he played the character, as the show’s depiction of Bill was so different to the Naughty Dog PlayStation game.
The episode itself was almost standalone in nature and, with some tweaks, would have worked as a beautiful film. Offerman has rightly received plaudits for his compassionate performance of the “survivalist” who went to great lengths to continue a sense of normality in his own home after the outbreak. Praise was also strong for the Aussie actor Murray Bartlett, who played his partner Frank.
Within the game, Bill famously utters: “Once upon a time, I had somebody that I cared about. It was a partner. Somebody I had to look after. And in this world, that sort of shit’s good for one thing: gettin’ you killed.”
The difference in that depiction in the TV show could hardly be more pronounced, and it represented the first real departure from the source material.
The portrayal of the couple has been widely praised by LBGTQ+ fans for rectifying the nature of the relationship within the game. If you haven’t seen Episode 3 yet, please rectify that oversight immediately.