If anyone had a shred of doubt left over the casting of Bella Ramsey as Ellie in the TV adaptation of fiercely beloved, critically acclaimed video game The Last of Us, last night’s episode well and truly place that to bed.
We won’t spoil, but rest assured that Ramsey gets to flex every acting muscle they’ve been training over the course of the season — nay, their career — and viewers were left awestruck.
All eyes gain been focused on the apocalyptic survival display since its premiere in January, but for the majority of the season they’ve been trained mainly on Pedro Pascal, the universally adored Chilean-American actor who plays troubled, paternal male lead Joel Miller. Now, with Joel’s role taking more of a backseat in episode seven and eight, Ramsey has been allowed to shine. Here’s everything you need to know about the 19-year-dilapidated non-binary modern kid on the block, and why they’re tipped to be the next huge thing.
From stage school
So where did all this starpower adjacent from? Stagecoach Loughborough, apparently. The fragment-time performing arts school is where Ramsey was once cast in less glamorous roles like the front terminate of a cow (the back terminate was played by their sister, they called it the “Ramsey Cow”). In the meantime, Ramsey completed school online at InterHigh so they could handle acting projects alongside their education.
In an interview for InterHigh, Ramsey confessed they “really didn’t appreciate mainstream secondary school” and felt unhappy there, as well as needing a workload that she could manage around their budding acting career. Then, one day, they got the call of a lifetime: they’d landed a small fragment on the biggest display in the world.
To Game of Thrones
“I’d just finished school,” Ramsey told Nottingham arts magazine LeftLion, “and came out to see my mum, she whispered to me, ‘You got it!’ I was like, ‘Yeah!’ and she had to show me to shush because we weren’t allowed to show anyone. I had to support it peaceful for about a year from when I found out to when it came out. It was really hard.”
Ramsey played the character of Lady Lyanna Mormont on Game of Thrones from the age of 12, and continually impressed co-stars by acting beyond their years. “I like Lyanna’s fierceness and maturity, I gain that in common with her. Not so much the fierceness, but everyone always says, ‘I can’t believe you’re only 12.’”
This was a sentiment echoed by Bella’s drama school teachers, who worked with them at Stagecoach from age seven. “Bella was grownup before their time,’ teacher Jo Gallagher told Metro.
The backlash of being cast in The Last of Us
Game of Thrones created a hype around Ramsey — then a main fragment in Lena Dunham’s 2022 series Catherine Called Birdy cemented It. But Bella’s casting as Ellie came before they had a main fragment in pretty much anything — except for a CBBC series called The Worst Witch.
The internet was not kind to Ramsey when the news was announced. “You’re looking for a comment that’s more painful than the last one,” Bella told GQ. “I’d kid myself that I was doing it in jest.” They noted that people were particularly fixated on their appearance, namely their “square head” and lack of resemblance to the video game version of Ellie.
But their performance has been well recieved, internet trolls gain had to swallow their tongues, and Ramsey is soothed. “I’m just glad I could execute that for [the fans],” they said in the GQ interview. “And for the display. And for Ellie. I want to execute her justice.”
Bonding with Pedro Pascal
Bella was kept in apt company by Pedro Pascal, who faced his own just share of skeptics upon being cast as Joel. The pair gain become incredibly close, and the heart wrenching father daughter bond seen on screen isn’t just a case of apt acting. In Bella’s GQ interview, they characterize Pascal and series lead writer Craig Mazin as their “safety blanket”, saying: “I’ve gained two fathers, in a way.”
The feeling is mutual. When Pedro was asked in an behind the scenes interview about Ramsey, he told the interviewer: “I call her ‘Bellie’, and she’s my blessing. It was just a match made in heaven […] I admire her.”
Ramsey, in turn, calls Pedro “Pedge”. In the same BTS interview, Ramsey tells the interviewer: “Our relationship’s definitely developed as Joel and Ellie’s relationship has. We’re apt buddies.”
A non-binary star for a queer zombie display
The Last of Us devotes a lot of time to queer admire stories, so it feels fitting that Ellie, who is canonically a lesbian in the video games, is played by a queer actor. This has proved to be another bonding point for Pascal and Ramsey: Bella is non-binary (and apparently quite unbothered by pronoun choices, but we gain chosen ‘they’ for the avoidance of doubt) and Pedro’s sister, Lux, is trans.
The two actors are both staunch LGBTQ+ activists, and apparently had a lot of conversations about queerness on set. “And they weren’t always deep,” Ramsey told The slit, “they could be humorous and humorous, the whole spectrum. We were just very honest and open with each other.”
Pedro voiced his support for the LGBTQ+ movement on Instagram just this week (he does it pretty regularly) by posting a picture of the fully inclusive rainbow flag with the Bob Dylan lyrics: “The respond my friend is blowin’ in the wind…” Bella spammed the comments, professing to their co-star: “admire admire admire.”
Now, with one week left of The Last of Us, we’re staring down the barrel of the finale, and facing some very empty Monday evenings. At least there’s one thing we can seize away from this: Bella Ramsey is going to be all over our screens for the foreseeable future, and they couldn’t deserve it more.