‘The Last of Us’ showrunner warns ‘scary’ mushroom is ‘real’
“What we’re doing in this scene is telling people that this has always been here,” Mazin said of the post-apocalyptic HBO series.
Could ‘The Last of Us’ really be predicting the apocalypse?
The series, which is decidedly not a zombie series despite featuring infected undead, relies on the adoption of the parasitic fungus Cordyceps, which typically infects ants and insects. In “The Last of Us,” based on the video game of the same name, the fungus evolved and infected humans.
Host Craig Mazin revealed that the 1968 prologue to the first episode of the HBO series explained the very real possibility of the Cordyceps fungus evolving due to climate change. John Hannah plays Dr. Neuman, who details the parasite’s evolution.
“What I told John (Hannah) was, ‘What we’re doing in this scene is telling people that this has always been here,'” Mazin said. The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s real – it’s real in that they do everything he says about mushrooms.” And they’re still doing it right now, and they’ve been doing it forever. There are remarkable documentaries that you can watch that are quite scary.”
While Mazin personally does not believe that mushrooms can infect humans, hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD have their roots in mushrooms.
“Now his warning – what if they evolve and get in among us? – from a purely scientific point of view, would they do to us exactly what they did to the ants? I do not think so. I doubt. On the other hand, he’s right — LSD and psilocybin do come from mushrooms,” Mazin said.
The “Chernobyl” writer added that “The Last of Us” echoed the possibility that something was “just waiting to explode,” like the mushroom itself.
“You just don’t know about it.” It was so exciting to tell people, ‘We knew about it, it was there, now we’re going to show it, the night it finally happens,'” Mazin said. “Not suddenly, but eventually.”
Mazin and series co-creator Neil Druckmann shared at a press conference that the way they introduced the infected zombies was to think about how it would expand in season two.
“There’s more ‘The Last of Us’ to come,” Mazin confirmed. “And I think the balance is not always just within an episode or even episode to episode, but over a season. It is very likely that there will be many more infected later, and perhaps different ones. But within the episodes that we’ve focused on, I think ultimately we’ve generally emphasized the power of relationships and trying to find meaning in moments of action. So there may be less action than some would have liked, because we didn’t necessarily find significance in that part. After all, you’re not playing, you’re watching. And while a lot of people like to watch the game, you have to be a little more focused and purposeful when you put it on TV.”
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