Steven Spielberg Sent Letter to ‘The Last of Us’ Creator Craig Mazin Praising Episode 3

Steven Spielberg was one of the first A-listers to praise “The Last of Us,” according to director Peter Hoar.

The Episode 3 helmer told The Hollywood Reporter that series creator Craig Mazin received a letter from the iconic Oscar winner applauding the queer storyline in the third episode, titled “Long, Long Time.”

“Well, I didn’t get it directly, but [an actual Spielberg letter] came to Craig Mazin, the writer of my episode on ‘The Last of Us’ — the writer of all the episodes,” Hoar said. “He shared it with myself, Nick Offerman, Murray Bartlett and [cinematographer] Eben Bolter. Basically, a whole group of middle-aged men started squealing because their idol had realized who they were.”

Hoar continued, “I think he probably knew who everyone else was, but he didn’t know who I was. And now he’s probably forgotten.”

The director addressed Mazin’s “universal” storyline in the third episode featuring the years-spanning love story between characters Bill and Frank, played by Offerman and Bartlett, amid an apocalypse.

“Craig may be straight, but he’s got the warmest heart,” Hoar said. “I think that’s partly why it is so universal, because his attention was on the love rather than the gender.”

He added, “I’ve had many conversations about the character of Bill [played by Offerman]. Everyone goes, ‘Well, Bill’s a gay man.’ I was like, ‘Well, is he? He could be. But he hasn’t really defined himself in those words.’ Craig wrote from what he knew, as he’d been in a marriage for some number of years. He knew the things that categorized the success or failure of a relationship, and that’s what went in. They’re universal. I didn’t want it to feel that it was only one group of people’s story. I think if it had been, it wouldn’t have been as successful. It would’ve felt niche.”

Actor Bartlett told IndieWire that one scene involving Bill and Frank tasting strawberries for the first time since the outbreak rooted the pivotal episode.

“The beautiful thing about playing that scene of, ‘What if these things weren’t available?’ when you have the chance to suspend disbelief and really taste a strawberry for the first time, it’s extraordinary,” Bartlett said. “There’s such great lessons in this episode and this show about that kind of perspective and really appreciating things. I’m not saying that every strawberry I eat from now on is going to be this orgasmic experience. But it definitely gives me pause.”

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