In an interview with Variety, Bella Ramsey and Storm Reid discussed their dynamics behind the scenes during their episode of HBO’s The Last of Us TV adaptation, “Left Behind,” and reacted to homophobic backlash to the episode as well.
This episode is an adaptation of the original game’s DLC content of the same name. In both versions we see how Ellie (played by Ramsey in the TV show) discovered that she is immune to the Cordyceps infection. Riley (played by Reid) is a runaway who Ellie encounters before she meets Joel. The two sneak into an abandoned mall together, where they develop their bond by exploring, playing old arcade games, and checking out the merry-go-round. The two end up in a photo booth, where they share a sweet, intimate kiss and Ellie convinces Riley to stick around. Of course, as you have to expect in this world, things immediately go wrong. Clickers show up and both girls end up bitten, but with Ellie’s immunity, only Riley will actually suffer from the effects of the infection.
“Who would have thought that we would be zooming in on two teenagers figuring out an awkward friendship-crush situation?” Ramsey told Variety. “It’s something that was very much just there in the script. I’d seen quite a lot of gameplay of ‘Left Behind,’ so I sort of felt it from that, too.”
“In terms of me and Storm, we just got along instantly. We didn’t have a lot of time to get to know each other beforehand. We very much just got to know each other as we were shooting, and it helps that we got along instantly. We just, like, trust each other, and felt very safe with each other. It wasn’t awkward at all.”
Both actresses are also on the same page when it comes to the homophobic backlash the show has experienced due to episodes like the Left Behind one and Episode 3, which featured a more in-depth look at the relationship between Bill and Frank.
“I think Bella put it perfectly a couple of weeks ago: ‘If you don’t like it, don’t watch,'” Reid told Variety. “There’s so many other things to worry about in the world. I think being concerned about who people love is just absurd to me. I just don’t — I will never understand it. I don’t get it. I think despite what people are going to say, if they don’t like it, I think there are going to be a lot more people that appreciate it. A lot more people that feel represented and seen and heard. So that’s what matters. That’s where the work comes in. And that’s when it’s appreciated, and you prioritize looking at those tweets rather than the ones that aren’t the best.”