At the end of last week’s episode of The Last of Us, a man and his little brother get the drop on Joel and Ellie, holding them at gunpoint.
Those who’ve played the original PlayStation game that inspired the hit HBO series will recognize them as Henry and Sam, arguably two of its most memorable characters. (If you know, you know.)
But what many might not know, however, is that the older brother, Henry, is played by Toronto’s own Lamar Johnson. The 28-year-old actor is best known for a lead role in the Canadian teen drama series The Next Step, as well as appearances in the likes of The Hate U Give and Your Honor. He also stars in Brother, an upcoming Toronto-set drama that garnered rave reviews at TIFF.
In the fifth episode of The Last of Us, premiering on Friday instead of Sunday due to the Super Bowl, Henry features prominently in his desperate attempt to escape Kansas City with his brother (Keivonn Woodard).
While that brotherly relationship was present in the game, the show tweaks Henry’s background by giving him a troubled history with the new character, Kathleen, a ruthless revolutionary leader played by Yellowjackets‘ Melanie Lynskey.
Some other changes from the game: HBO’s version of Sam is younger and Deaf (Woodard is also Deaf himself), which is a nice move for representation. We’ll see this all play out in the fifth episode, titled “Endure and Survive.”
Johnson is one of The Last of Us‘ many Canadian connections. Most notably, the series was filmed in Alberta for an entire year, shooting in such locations as Calgary, Edmonton, High River and Lethbridge. However, it was the small town of Canmore that stars Pedro Pascal (Joel) and Bella Ramsey (Ellie) raved the most about in a recent interview with MobileSyrup. “Every inch of Canmore was just this magical little town… with really great fudge,” Pascal told us.
Elsewhere, the series’ production designer, John Paino, has talked about his surprise at how “clean” the province ended up being. Meanwhile, Travel Alberta has created an interactive map to let you view the exact filming locations from the series.
The Last of Us is streaming exclusively on Crave in Canada.
Update 10/02/2023 at 11:15am ET: This story originally said Henry and Sam’s story takes place in Pittsburgh. While that is the setting for their section of the game, the related episodes in question are set in Kansas City. We’ve updated this piece accordingly.
Image credit: HBO