How The Last of Us rebuilt abandoned Calgary mall for latest episode

The latest episode of The last of usOn February 26, “Left Behind” was all about Ellie’s (Bella Ramsey) time before she met Joel (Pedro Pascal).

In particular, most of this episode sees Ellie and her best friend Riley (Storm Reid) charmingly cavorting through an abandoned mall. Naughty Dog fans The last of us The PlayStation game recognizes this story from the downloadable expansion, left behind. Now we’ve learned a bit more about how that attitude came together on the show.

Speak with diversity, John Paino, production designer on the acclaimed HBO series, explained how the crew found an actual abandoned Calgary mall for the episode. While Paino didn’t mention a specific name, Calgarians have identified it as the Northland Village Mall, which closed in 2021 to be converted into an “open-air mall.”

As Paino notes, the mall had been “completely gutted” and had no usable second floor. However, those who watched the episode will know that a two-story setup was key, thanks to a cute scene featuring an escalator. Therefore, the roofs were created with CGI.

Meanwhile, Paino’s team built 20 to 25 stores to transform the run-down Canadian mall into an American one. However, some of the fast food places had to play themselves, such as A&W.

Elsewhere, Paino says the carousel featured in a key scene only had to be brought to the mall for filming. “Actually, it used to be in this mall, but when it went out of business, another mall took it over, so we made a deal to rent it,” he said.TLOU happy roundFinally, there is the arcade. As Paino points out, this place’s name and font (“Raja’s Arcade”) were taken directly from the game. This is a funny nod to a hot-headed character named Eddy Raja from another popular Naughty Dog series. Unexplored.

In addition, however, the production team assembled a number of real arcade cabinets, including those for frog, tetris and especially Mortal Kombat. Interestingly, Paino says they actually built LED displays for every game because their original retro cathode ray tube (CRT) screens appeared blurry on their modern cameras.

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Of course, the sight of Calgary’s old mall drew some funny reactions from viewers:

After ‘Left Behind’ only two more episodes of The last of us remain. However, the series has already been renewed for Season 2, which has no premiere window yet.

More on this The last of us, check out what Paino had to say about the transformation of Canmore – Pascal and Ramsey’s favorite place in Alberta – in Jackson, Wyoming for the show. Earlier this year, Paino also revealed how “shocked” he was to see how clean Alberta ended up.

Photo credit: HBO

Source: Variety


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