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

Why David From The Last Of Us Looks So Familiar

Contains spoilers for "The Last of Us," Season 1, Episode 8 — "When We Are in Need"

When we first meet David in Season 1, Episode 8 of "The Last of Us," he's reciting Revelation 21 to the residents of the Silver Lake community. He comforts a girl, Hannah, who's crying because her father was killed, and he seems like a caring and decent leader. When he encounters Ellie (Bella Ramsey), he tries to convince her to join them, telling her he can protect her, even though he knows that Joel (Pedro Pascal) is responsible for killing the father of the girl in his community.

As the episode progresses David quickly begins to show cracks in his kind and just façade, first when he knocks Hannah to the ground after she says they should kill him and Ellie. But David remains steadfast in his decision not to kill Ellie, even after Ellie shoots and kills one of their men. Despite Ellie cursing at him, he continues trying to convince her to join them, but it becomes apparent that his fixation on Ellie is more lecherous than good-hearted. David isn't kind, but a cult leader who wants everyone to follow him.

The actor who portrays David is Scott Shepherd, and while he's better known for his award-winning theater performances, he's proven over the past decade that his acting skills translate perfectly to the screen, also.

He played an FBI agent in Side Effects

Scott Shepherd's first film role was in the little-remembered 1995 film "Throwing Down," which has the added distinction of also being actor Jeffrey Donovan's first film. After playing the role of the hapless Wade, he took a 16-year break from films. By 2013 Shepherd had returned to the screen, taking a role in "Side Effects" as one of the NYPD detectives who talked with Emily Taylor's (Rooney Mara) psychiatrist, Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), after she's arrested for murdering her husband, Martin (Channing Tatum). He was in only one scene, but played a confident and skeptical officer who doesn't quite believe Dr. Banks when he claims that Emily was sleepwalking when she killed Martin.

During the period of time that Shepherd stepped away from film and television work, he became well-known in the theater world. In 2006 he won his first Obie Award for "Poor Theater: A Series of Simulacra," and in 2010 he began performing "Gatz," a six-hour production of "The Great Gatsby" in which the actors read and performed the entire book. Shepherd acknowledged that he'd actually memorized the book, "and then it became, like, a thing," he told Time Out. "We would play this game at fundraising functions for Elevator Repair Service. I'd be called upon to astound the audience. Someone would just open the book randomly and start reading it and I would finish." Shepherd won his second Obie Award for his performance.

He co-starred in Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies

In 2015 Scott Shepherd appeared in Steven Spielberg's thriller "Bridge of Spies," starring Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance, who won the Academy Award for best supporting actor for his performance as Rudolf Abel, a Soviet spy working in the U.S. during the Cold War. The film is based on the true story of Abel and the lawyer who defended him, James Donovan (Hanks). Hanks is determined to get Abel a fair trial, fights to keep him from getting the death penalty, and succeeds. Four years into his 30-year sentence, Abel is exchanged with the Soviet Union for two captured Americans — pilot Francis Powers and university student Fredric Powers.

Shepherd plays CIA agent Hoffman, who tries to convince Donovan to give up any confidential information he has on Abel, telling him "there's no rulebook here." Donovan takes great offense to Hoffman's statement, reminding him that the Constitution is the "rulebook," and he has no intention of betraying his client. Hoffman and Donovan continue to butt heads until the end of the film, with Shepherd continuously getting frustrated with Donovan's stubbornness. Shepherd feels like a lot of the film's themes resonate today, telling Trailer Addict, "How do we negotiate the line between security and our principles?"

He was the Director of National Intelligence in Jason Bourne

Scott Shepherd took on a higher profile role next, playing Edwin Russell, the Director of National Intelligence in "Jason Bourne." The fifth film in the Bourne franchise. This time, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has been off the map for a decade and is living as a bare-knuckles fighter in Greece. Former CIA agent Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) helps hack into the CIA and steals information about Treadstone, the black ops program Bourne was part of, and then heads to Greece to share the information with Bourne. Of course, hacking into the CIA's servers alerts the CIA, and Russell instructs CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) and head of cybersecurity Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) to hunt them down.

As the top boss, Russell stays calm under pressure, with Dewey and Lee occasionally reporting to him on the status of the Bourne operation. Shepherd's screen presence is limited, but he's very effective as the level-headed NI Director who just wants the Bourne issue resolved as quickly as possible. He remains impartial to Dewey and Lee's disagreement about whether to kill Bourne or bring him in, eventually agreeing with Lee's suggestion to try to bring him in.

He played a doomed settler in Hostiles

Scott Shepherd's next role was as Wesley Quaid in "Hostiles," a settler living in New Mexico with his wife, Rosalee "Rosie" Quaid (Rosamund Pike), and three children. The film begins with Wesley cutting wood, as sees a group of Native Americans on horses approaching. He drops what he's doing and runs into the house, yelling for Rosie to grab the kids and get to the ridge. As Wesley shoots at the intruders he's overpowered, and then the Native Americans begin shooting at Rosie and the kids. Rosie hides under a boulder, tragically still holding her dead infant in her arms as the trespassers finally give up and leave.

"It was important for me to not pull punches in any way regarding the very real oppression the US Cavalry inflicted on Native Americans," "Hostiles" writer and director Scott Cooper told ICT News. "I also did not want to shy away from how murderous some of the Comanche people could be toward American soldiers, settlers and even other Native Americans." From the get-go with the Quaid family's slaughter, "Hostiles" is a punch to the gut, showing that violence can come for anyone.

He played an antagonist in True Detective Season 3

In 2019, Scott Shepherd played Harris James in Season 3 of "True Detective," co-starring Stephen Dorff and Mahershala Ali. In his initial introduction James is a police officer, and when a fellow officer pulls a bag belonging to a dead child, Will Purcell (Phoenix Elkin), under Brett Woodard's (Michael Greyeyes) deck, James recognizes it as belonging to Will. The backpack and a dress of Julie's that James also planted are later used as evidence to convict Woodard of the murder of Will and his sister, Julie (Lena McCarthy). James becomes the Chief Security Officer for Hoyt Foods, owned by Edward Hoyt (Michael Rooker).

Detective Wayne Hays (Ali) and Roland West (Dorff) uncover the truth about James, and that he murdered Will and Julie's parents, Lucy (Mamie Gummer) and Tom (Scoot McNairy), and planted the evidence so that Woodard would be charged in the children's deaths. While they initially believe James was doing all this for Edward, it's later revealed that Edward had no idea, and James was doing it for Edward's daughter, Isabel Hoyt (Lauren Sweetser). Isabel had been the one to accidentally kill Will, and then take Julie and raise her, pretending she was her real mother.

West ends up shooting and killing James after he attacks Hays, which causes a rift between the two. Shepherd's James was a reserved and inconspicuous antagonist in Season 3, and easy to overlook, because Hays and West initially thought the case involved human trafficking. 

He played a bumbling criminal in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

2019 saw Scott Shepherd co-star in Netflix's "El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie." The heavily anticipated film finally shows viewers what happened to Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) after he escaped the Brotherhood meth compound. Shepherd plays Casey, one of two criminals pretending to be police officers, searching Todd's (Jesse Plemons) home for hidden cash. In the commentary for "El Camino," Shepherd concurred with co-star Scott MacArthur that director Vince Gilligan made the set so detailed, saying "You just sort of drop into it, it felt familiar from the show." 

While Casey distracts a nosey neighbor, his partner Neil (MacArthur) reluctantly agrees with Jesse the three of them will split Todd's money Jesse found. But before Neil and Jesse part ways, Jesse realizes that Neil owns Kandy's Towing, and is responsible for the tether the Brotherhood used to keep him imprisoned. Jesse goes to Neil's shop demanding more money to pay Ed Galbraith (Robert Forster) so he can "disappear," and Casey is angry that Neil gave anything to him. After killing Neil in a "duel," Jesse gets in a shootout with Casey that ends with him dead, also.