‘Really exciting’: The Last of Us begins production in downtown Nanaimo

'Really exciting': The Last of Us begins production in downtown Nanaimo
Film sets are set up at Diana Krall Plaza in Nanaimo on May 3, 2024.

No city has ever aspired to be a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but Nanaimo is ready for its close-up.

“It’s a beautiful, beautiful city,” says Nanaimo resident Adam Kovacs. The small-screen treatment the city will get in season two of HBO blockbuster The Last of Us might not be reflective of the Harbour City’s natural beauty, but it’s a big deal for fans.

“I think it’s really exciting,”  says resident Olivia Meyers. “I never expected it to be this close to where I live.”

A film crew is busily transforming Diana Krall Plaza into a set, and according to Kovacs, they work fast.

“I was down here yesterday and there’s a whole new building that wasn’t here yesterday,” he says.

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According to HBO, the production will last five weeks. Filming will also take place in Vancouver, and while few plot details are known, Catherine O’Hara is among the cast additions for season two.

The Last of Us is based on a popular video game series and the television show stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, battling for survival in a post-apocalyptic world where fungal infections have turned humans into bloodthirsty hordes of flesh-hungry zombies. Unlike some Hollywood zombie splat-fests, it’s far from brainless.

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“It’s based on real science,” says Kovacs. The popularity of season one even prompted scientists to answer questions as to whether a fungal outbreak could spell the end of all things. An interesting, if not terrifying, idea.

Despite this, recent Nanaimo resident Giovanna Burno says the show strikes the perfect chord with viewers.

“You get a little freaked out, but not so freaked out that you can’t go to sleep at night,” Burno says.

Burno is a recent transplant to the Harbour City. The Last of Us has literally put Nanaimo on the map for family back home.

“I brag to my mom because she was like, ‘Where even is Nanaimo?’ and now I can say, ‘That’s Nanaimo.'”

Fans can’t wait to see the city’s transformation in The Last of Us, and as for big productions on Vancouver Island, we’ve surely not seen the last of them.


Jordan CunninghamJordan Cunningham

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