The Last of Us: Effects Designer Reveals Key Scene That Was Almost 100% Practical

HBO's 'The Last of Us' Pulled off one of its most impressive sequences using almost entirely practical visual effects!

HBO's The Last of Us has received a mountain of Emmy Awards – including for its technical feats in makeup, hairstyling, and production design. A new video looking behind-the-scenes at the making of The Last of Us provides some fun new insights – including a scene that was, surprisingly, almost 100% practical effects, and not the CGI rendering many viewers may have thought it was. 

The Last of Us Episode 2 really distinguished the series (and captured the thrill of the original video games) with its sequence set in the Bostonian Museum. Joel (Pedro Pascal) and his partner Tess (Anna Torv) are trying to smuggle young Ellie (Bella Ramsey) out of the Quarantine Zone and to the Fireflies revolutionary group, but the path through the museum proves to be extremely treacherous (and in one case, fatal). The Bostonian is seen to be overrun by the Cordyceps fungi and its infected hosts, forcing the trio to take a stealthy walk through the building, inevitably running into fearsome Clickers along the way. 

(Photo: HBO )

Well, if you can believe it, the entire Bostonian Museum set of The Last of Us was actually created in painstaking detail using almost entirely practical effects! 

"In episode 2, we have a sequence where Ellie, Joel, and Tess enter a Bostonian museum set. And as they come through the doorway they're met with a plethora of cordyceps and fungus and mushrooms, and eventually get to a staircase, which all our cast walk up through all these kinds of decomposing infected bodies, which have become part of the environment," production designer Barry Gower explained to Vanity Fair. "To do that, we worked, again, with John [Paino, production designer] and the art departments and visual effects as well, to decide what we would need to create practically, and what would necessarily be extended digitally to go up the walls and ceilings. And actually what we ended up filming was pretty much pretty close to about 80 to 100% practical that our team created."

Gower went on to say that what they achieved with The Last of Us Bostonian Museum set is quickly becoming the favored way of doing visual effects in Hollywood again: 

"It's almost like vinyl – it's like a retro effect we've had where productions have started leaning more toward practical effects again," Gower added. "So, we've been very fortunate with our last so many projects – especially something like The Last of Us... where we've been asked to work very heavily with visual effects and we've been asked to provide as much as we can in camera. "

The Last of Us is streaming on Max.