Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Last Of Us Star Anna Torv On How Close Tess Is To Her Video Game Counterpart - Exclusive

One of the toughest things any screen actor might face is the inevitable comparison of their performance to previously established characters in books and video games. Sometimes, those characters have simply been established in the mind's eye of each reader of a novel, and other times, a character has already come to life via voice work and motion capture acting in a video game — which was the case for the cast of the 2013 sensation "The Last of Us."

Tasked with bringing the beloved character Tess — played by Annie Wersching in the game — to life in the new "The Last of Us" series is Anna Torv. Luckily, Torv has played in both the TV and gaming realms, having starred in hit series such as "Fringe" and "Mindhunter," as well as the 2014 video game "Heavenly Sword," which provided her more than enough experience in tackling the screen adaptation of "The Last of Us."

The HBO and HBO Max series stars Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller, a survivalist in a 20-year-old zombie pandemic caused by a virus that infects the brains of its victims. Along with his smuggling partner, Tess Servopoulos (Torv), Joel must find a way to get Ellie Williams (Bella Ramsey) out of the government's heavily guarded quarantine zone because the young teen's immunity to the Cordyceps virus that spurred the pandemic may be the key for a vaccine — and ultimately, a cure.

When contacted about her opportunity to play Tess in "The Last of Us," Torv was excited about the possibilities, but she also knew that the adaptation of the series — co-created by the game's creator, Neil Druckmann — came with huge expectations from the game's massive fan base.

Because she's already a 'well-drawn' character, 'Tess is Tess,' Torv says

In an exclusive interview with Looper, Anna Torv said her introduction to "The Last of Us" came long before her opportunity to do the series adaptation.

"I remember when the game came out ... and I remember people talking about the fact that it was this game that had these emotional stories and characters," Torv recalled. "I also remember wanting to look at it because I had actually done a game ages ago with motion capture ['Heavenly Sword'], and I wanted to see ['The Last of Us'] at that point. The technology had improved so much, so I was curious to see what that looked like. I remember seeing the trailer back in the day, but I didn't play it."

When it did come time for the actor to play in the world of "The Last of Us," Torv admitted she was torn over which route she should take to breathe life into Tess. "When I got cast, I read the scripts and then went back and watched all of the cut scenes, particularly all of Tess' stuff," Torv said. "I then went to Craig [Mazin], who was our co-creator, and said, 'What are you wanting? Are you wanting this to be an interpretation or are you wanting this to be ... How closely do I need to stick to what the game is?' He's like, 'No, it's going to be an interpretation.'"

Ultimately, Torv noted, fans should be happy with how she has interpreted Tess for the series. "With any good story and well-drawn character, you'll end up sticking pretty close to it, because that's the story and that's who you're playing," Torv said. "That stuff, it's based on the game. The story is the same. The character is the same. Different actors are coming in to do different jobs, but ultimately, Tess is Tess."

Also starring Gabriel Luna, Merle Dandridge, and Nico Parker, "The Last of Us" is new on HBO and HBO Max, with new episodes debuting every Sunday through March 12.