The Last of Us season 2: Isabela Merced comments after her first day of playing Dina

Connie Queline

The Last of Us season 2: Isabela Merced comments after her first day of playing Dina

Isabela Merced has confirmed that she already filmed a day of work as her The Last of Us season 2 character Dina

Season 2 of the HBO series adaptation of the video game The Last of Us has officially started filming in Vancouver, Canada, and a while back (before filming began) the show’s star Bella Ramsey, who plays Ellie, said that one of the things she was most looking forward to about the new season was getting the chance to play out “the Dina storyline”. Last month, we learned that Isabela Merced – who can be seen in this weekend’s release Madame Web – had been cast as Dina, Ellie’s new romantic interest. While attending the world premiere of Madame Web, Merced took a moment to confirm that she has already done a day of work as Dina.

Merced told Deadline, “The stars are truly aligning. I had several of my friends that I’ve worked with in this industry for a long time join the cast. I can’t say who just joined. But he’s amazing. And he’s a future superstar and already a superstar in my eyes. We’ve had one day of shooting for me as Dina and I gotta say, we kind of ate, I’m not gonna lie. I was a huge fan of the second game. I played it in, like one weekend. And then I wondered, how is this going to translate onto TV. And (showrunner) Craig Mazin is one of the most brilliant people, actually, I think, a genius. I’m sure if they did the test, they would find out that it’s true. And he’s just has a way of bringing these characters to life that no one could ever just come up with in such a short amount of time. I love him. He’s amazing.

Merced is of a younger generation than I am, so I had to look up what this “ate” slang means. According to a Google search, if someone “ate”, they “did a great job; pulled it off well; had a lot of success with something”.

Merced’s fellow new additions to the Last of Us cast include Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart and No One Will Save You) as Abby Anderson, a major character from the video game who is described as being “a skilled soldier whose black-and-white view of the world is challenged as she seeks vengeance for those she loved” and Young Mazino of Beef as Jesse, “a pillar of his community who puts everyone else’s needs before his own, sometimes at terrible cost.” (Jesse also happens to be Dina’s ex.) Schitt’s Creek Emmy winner Catherine O’Hara is also in there, in an unspecified role. Merced said Dever is “one of the most talented actors I’ve ever worked with.”

The story of the The Last of Us video game is set years after a fungal plague wiped out much of humanity, transforming most into vicious zombie-like monsters, the story follows Joel, who’s living in a militarized quarantine zone. He has a close relationship with Tess, who operates in the black market of this community. Together, they’ve become known by the local criminal underworld for their ruthlessness. On a mission to reclaim their stolen guns, they run into the leader of the Fireflies, a resistance group, who tasks them with smuggling a young girl named Ellie out of the zone. This mission soon becomes much more than they were prepared for. 

For the HBO series, Pedro Pascal plays Joel, who is “tormented by past trauma and failure. He must trek across a pandemic-ravaged America, all the while protecting a girl who represents the last hope of humanity”. He is joined in the cast by Bella Ramsey as Ellie, “an orphan who has never known anything but a ravaged planet and who struggles to balance her instinct for anger and defiance with her need for connection and belonging… as well as the newfound reality that she may be the key to saving the world”; Anna Torv as Tess, “a smuggler and hardened survivor in a post-pandemic world”; Gabriel Luna as Joel’s brother Tommy, “a former soldier who hasn’t lost his sense of idealism and hope for a better world”; Merle Dandridge as Marlene, “the head of the Fireflies, a resistance movement struggling for freedom against an oppressive military regime”; Nico Parker as Joel’s daughter Sarah; Jeffrey Pierce as Perry, “a rebel in a quarantine zone”; Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett as Bill and Frank, “two post-pandemic survivalists living alone in their own isolated town”; and Storm Reid as Ellie’s best friend Riley.

Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, who did the motion-capture performances for Joel and Ellie in the video game, are also in the cast of the show. Baker plays James, “a senior member of a group of settlers who must fight to keep their community alive in the face of increasingly brutal odds.” Baker also hosts a podcast that serves as a companion to the TV series. Johnson’s character is Anna, “a pregnant woman, alone and on the run, who must give birth under the most terrifying of circumstances.”

Are you looking forward to The Last of Us season 2, and are you glad to hear that the cast and crew “ate” during Isabela Merced’s first day on set? Share your thoughts on this one by leaving a comment below.

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