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HBO’s Last of Us looking for southern Alberta extras

Ever wondered what it would be like to experience a zombie apocalypse? 

Southern Albertans over the age of 18 have an opportunity to get paid to find out.

HBO’s adaptation of the hit video game series The Last of Us is set to film in the Calgary area this summer, and the big-budget production is looking for locals to cast as extras from Calgary, High River, Lethbridge and Fort Macleod.

Brock Skretting is with Keep Alberta Rolling, a non-profit advocacy group that assisted Classic Casting by circulating the call-out notice on social media. He says the production is looking for people of all ethnicities and body types.

They are also looking for vehicles from 1995 to 2003, so if you’ve got one of those, that’s an added bonus.

“Anyone who’s played the game knows the potential scenario that they might find themselves in — zombies and apocalyptic [stuff],” Skretting told the Calgary Eyeopener on Thursday. “No preparation or anything needed, that’ll all happen on set.”

‘Game of Thrones’ in scope

The original The Last of Us video game was released in 2013 to critical acclaim. The game has sold more than 20 million copies as of October 2019, becoming one of the highest-selling PlayStation 3 video games of all time.

It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, and like the game, HBO’s adaptation will focus on Joel, a hardened survivor who is hired to smuggle 14-year-old Ellie out of an “oppressive quarantine zone.”

“I’ve heard it be compared to Game of Thrones in scope, and we’re sure excited to have HBO in Alberta, because at least to me, HBO means quality, it means high production value and top talent,” Skretting said.

Game of Thrones actors Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey will be starring as Joel and Ellie.

“It looks like one of those shows that really can help build the industry, that can employ a lot of people, that will spend a lot of money in Alberta businesses on materials … that are needed to complete this production.”

The role of an extra

Skretting says extras provide the human element of the atmosphere, and the job can be repetitive at times, but a lot of fun.

The application requires two photos that are unobstructed by glasses or hats, one from the waist up and one that is full-length.

“The casting agents just want to see what you look like, so take a natural photo, don’t try to alter it in any way,” Skretting said.

Applications are expected to be open until the end of May, and the gig pays about minimum wage, Skretting said. Some extras can be asked to come out for a day, others a week at a time.

“If you’re able to leave your job for a week to do the work, awesome,” Skretting said.

“If you’re unemployed, or if you’re underemployed right now with the pandemic, they’re looking to hire locals. So get your name in and there will be some opportunity, definitely, for this show and others for this summer.”

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