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Bella Ramsey Endured A Struggle With Her Rifle In TLOU Episode 8

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

Bella Ramsey's Ellie might seem tough as nails, but filming this pivotal scene for "The Last of Us" actually took its toll on the actor in a surprising way.

In "When We Are in Need," the penultimate installment of Season 1 of "The Last of Us," Ellie strikes out on her own to try and find food and medicine for a severely injured Joel (Pedro Pascal), only to meet two strangers in the woods. When the men try and steal a deer Ellie shot down, she holds them at gunpoint, brandishing a rifle and telling them she won't hesitate to put a bullet between anybody's eyes. 

Ellie's definitely a formidable presence for her size and age, and the men know this; they immediately lay their weapons down and acquiesce to her demands, or so she thinks. In real life, though, Ramsey had a pretty tricky time with that rifle. Here's why the actor struggled with her rifle during this standoff scene.

Bella Ramsey struggled with a super-heavy rifle

On the show's official podcast, which drops after each new episode, showrunner Craig Mazin talked about the show's commitment to gun safety — but also opened up about how Bella Ramsey had trouble holding that huge gun.

According to Mazin, all the guns are unloaded at all times; they don't use blanks or ammunition, but a real rifle is heavy regardless. "And Bella, like, the next day, was feeling it, like, in her biceps and her pecs," he said on the podcast. "It was hard for her to hold that thing up."

There's an obvious problem here — Ellie, the consummate survivor, knows she has to keep her gun trained on these strangers at all times, and would never lower it. Ramsey, on the other hand, apparently kept lowering it by accident. Speaking to Troy Baker, the original voice actor who plays James in the episode, Mazin recalled, "And we would– Throughout the scene where she confronts your character and David [Scott Shepherd's cannibalistic cult leader], from off camera, we would occasionally be like, 'Lift the gun! Lift the gun!' Because she would– It starts to lower, but she can't lower it."

The Season 1 finale of "The Last of Us" airs Sunday, March 12 at 9 P.M. on HBO and HBO Max; the podcast is available on all platforms now.