The Word ‘Zombie’ Was Banned On The Last Of Us Set
HBO's The Last of Us is many things, but don't let anyone on set hear you calling it a zombie show. According to Cinematographer Eben Bolter, "We weren’t allowed to say the Z word on set." Considering the show is set in the wake of a fungal infection that turns people into an infected hive-mind that transfers their sickness via biteing, it's easy to see why many would refer to them as zombies. If it bites like a zombie and quacks like a zombie…
This interview comes from The Credits via GamesRadar. Bolter said, "It’s not a cliché zombie movie". The Last of Us has always been about more than the hordes of infected. It centres its protagonists Joel and Ellie and their humanity above all else, and the show has done a great job at adapting those themes, especially with its Bill and Frank episode. But outright banning the word zombie seems a bit much.
"It was like a banned word," Bolter says. "They were the Infected. We weren’t a zombie show. Of course, there’s tension building and jump scares but the show’s really about our characters; The Infected are an obstacle they have to deal with."
A lot of shows that feature zombies seem to have a distaste for the word. The Walking Dead calls them walkers or biters, and many other shows such as The Last of Us refer to them simply as infected.
Zombies, infected, biters, walkers, whatever you want to call them, have long been used as a way to portray cultural fears via film and television. They've been used as an analogy for racial tensions, Cold War fears, capitalism, AIDS, and even our overreliance on technology like mobile phones.
After the most recent episodes of The Last of Us, fans believe the character of Kathleen was added to prepare viewers for Abby's arrival in season two. Bella Ramsey has also told homophobes to "get used" to seeing more queer action in the show. ""If you don’t want to watch the show because it has gay storylines, because it has a trans character…you’re missing out."
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