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Mahershala Ali Was Considered to Play Joel in 'The Last of Us'

Jeffery Pierce from The Last of Us franchise revealed to The Direct that Mahershala Ali was in talks to play the show's lead.

Mahershala Ali and Pedro Pascal were against each other for the role of Joel in The Last of Us. In a recent interview with The Direct, Jeffery Pierce, who plays Perry in the hit HBO show, revealed the original cast plans. Pierce is best known for providing the voice of Tommy in the original TLOU video game saga.

“I think initially they had talked to Mahershala Ali about playing Joel, which is an obvious cue that I’m not gonna play Tommy…” Pierce said about realizing that he wouldn't be reprising his video game role as Tommy in the HBO series. “And when they cast Pedro [Pascal], I knew like, yeah, that was certainly not going to happen regardless, I’m older than Pedro Pascal. So I was not under harboring any illusions about that, for sure.”

While Ali didn't move forth with TLOU, the 49-year-old Oscar-winner will next star in psychological thriller film Leave the World Behind, followed by stop-motion animated feature Wildwood and the long-delayedBlade.

Due to the record-breaking success and positive acclaim for TLOU, the series has received a season two renewal. In a statement, game and series co-creator Neil Druckmann shared his gratitude for fan support.

"I’m humbled, honored, and frankly overwhelmed that so many people have tuned in and connected with our retelling of Joel and Ellie’s journey," Druckmann said. "The collaboration with Craig Mazin, our incredible cast & crew, and HBO exceeded my already high expectations. Now we have the absolute pleasure of being able to do it again with season two! On behalf of everyone at Naughty Dog & PlayStation, thank you!"

TLOU will fulfill its nine-episode first season with new episodes airing Sundays at 9 PM EST.