How The Production Designer For HBO's The Last Of Us Built Episode 7's Mall

The newest episode of HBO’s The Last of Us included content material from the primary recreation’s Left Behind DLC, the place we learn the way Ellie was bitten, but in addition reveals us her first understanding of true, inconsolable loss. During this a part of the sport, Ellie has to fend for herself as Joel recovers from being impaled on damaged glass, but in addition we flash again to her life earlier than Joel and we see a slice of life as an adolescent through the finish of the world.

Ellie’s greatest good friend and crush Riley, performed by Storm Reid within the sequence, sneak out to an deserted mall the place the 2 have a night that is a quasi-date and get to dwell as youngsters did earlier than the cordyceps outbreak. Tragically, the 2 are attacked and bitten by a previously dormant Clicker. This is the place Ellie finds out she is immune but in addition loses the individual she beloved most on the earth.

Getting a mall constructed to recreate this second wasn’t a straightforward feat, however manufacturing designer John Paino was as much as the problem.

“We got to pick and create these stores. It was great to use their logos, and we could play with what they are, the luxury stores, and the codes behind them,” Paino informed Variety, as he went by the method of constructing a mall. “Creating the creepy American Girl store was fun to make.”

Paino was aiming to seek out an American-style mall in Calgary, Canada, the place the present is filmed, however they ended up repurposing a lifeless mall, Northland Village Mall, which closed in 2021. Paino recollected his time in his youth at his native mall and the way it made him really feel as a child.

“I’m a child of the ’70s, and the mall was a temple. The size of 10 football fields. I’d spend a lot of time there and in the video arcade,” defined. “So, we were hoping to find something like that. We found an abandoned mall that was completely stripped and didn’t have a second floor. We built the rooftops and the stores, but what they look from the balcony, it’s all CGI because our mall didn’t have a second floor.”

Recreating the arcade was one thing Paino and his staff needed to nail as effectively. They used the identify and the font within the unique recreation for Raja’s Arcade. The trick was to make all the things look playable, even when it wasn’t. In most instances although, each cupboard was useful.

“We gave it a bit of retro-ness through games like Frogger, Tetris, and Mortal Kombat,” Paino mentioned. He added that the sport screens for the older video games have been made out of cathode-ray tubes (CRT). That means when the cameras have been rolling, the pictures weren’t clear and purposefully out of focus. “We rebuilt them on LED screens.”

As for the carousel, used to recreate the DLC’s possibly most iconic scene (which was even featured within the first full trailer) it was introduced in from one other mall and Paino needed to hire it for the shoot.

“It actually used to be in that mall, but when it went out of business, another mall took it, so we made a deal to rent it,” defined Paino. When they obtained it again, it needed to be repaneled because it had pictures that have been an homage to the Calgary Stampede, a well-known rodeo competition within the space. “We put reflective panels around the center that were horrible and uneven to add to the hallucinatory feel because the whole thing is like a fever dream.”

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