Another actor has been cast for the next season of The Last of Us. HBO’s adaptation of the Naughty Dog series has found its Jesse in Beef’s Young Mazino.
The news, tweeted by Max and Naughty Dog, comes a day after Booksmart’s Kaitlyn Dever was cast as antagonist and dual protagonist Abby.
Creators Neil Druckmann and showrunner/director Craig Mazin confirmed Young Mazino’s casting via Variety, saying “Young is one of those rare actors who is immediately undeniable the moment you see him. We’re so lucky to have him, and we can’t wait for the audience to see Young shine in our show.”
The video game adaptation, starring Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) and Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones), is fresh off eight Creative Emmy wins and is nominated for five main Primetime Emmy awards, including Best Drama. The show was a massive hit for HBO and fans alike. This new season is expected to adapt the events of The Last of Us Part II, which was released in 2020 to critical praise.
Jesse, according to an official description by Variety, is said to be “a pillar of his community who puts everyone else’s needs before his own, sometimes at terrible cost.” His role in the game, which was played by Stephen Chang (Bosch: Legacy), was the leader of the Jackson patrol troops, and the on-again/off-again love interest of Dina.
Young Mazino is a relatively new actor, starting in 2013 and doing small roles in New Amsterdam and Blue Bloods. His big break came with the 2023 Netflix acclaimed limited series Beef as Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead)’s brother Paul Cho. He’s currently nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie for his role, alongside his co-star Joseph Lee.
I have yet to see Beef, though it is high up there considering it’s been dominating the Miniseries category at awards shows thus far. Taking a chance on promising actors is always a win in my book. With that, Young Mazino seems like a great choice to play Jesse, a personal favorite of mine in The Last of Us Part II.
Season two of The Last of Us is scheduled to film later this year and release sometime next year. With HBO announcing two roles in quick succession, I have a hunch we might hear more about other roles soon too.
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