Merle Dandridge, an actor who’s had a long career in television and theater, will be reprising her role of Marlene in HBO’s The Last of Us adaptation, according to Variety and Deadline. Dandridge’s casting is particularly notable because actors in video games are rarely presented with the opportunity to play their characters in live action outside of the motion capture stage.
Marlene is integral to how lead characters Joel and Ellie join together and head off on their zombie road trip in the first place. It’s unknown how much of the game’s story will carry over to the television adaptation, but Dandridge’s situation is unique. Both Troy Baker’s Joel and Ashley Johnson’s Ellie were recast for executive producer and writer Craig Mazin’s take on the critically acclaimed video game. Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey were announced to be filling both roles, respectively, in February.