The Last of Us: Neil Druckmann Explains Why Sam is Deaf in HBO Show

Credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO

Credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO

We already know how The Last of Us has been changing things up in the series like giving Bill and Frank an emotional backstory. One of the latest changes has been on Sam who is played by nine-year-old Keivonn Woodard. But why have they changed things for the character? Neil Druckmann opened up about making changes to the HBO series.

Although Sam first showed up in the previous episode, we finally got to meet the character in The Last of Us Episode 5. In the show, Sam is five years younger than the character in the game. In addition to that, he is deaf like the actor who plays him.

So why change things up for Sam? Neil Druckmann told The Washington Post that it wasn't easy doing new things for the show.

"Making creative decisions is difficult," Druckmann said. "Especially when it comes to a massive collaboration, such as a video game or a TV show. What we do is extremely collaborative, as a result, we had to reject ideas that sounded really cool in order to focus on ideas that led us to the core of the story."

He then goes on to explain how it enhances Sam as a character in the series.

"One of the changes that we made for the TV show is we made Sam deaf ... That kind of constraint led to really interesting storytelling decisions that, in some ways, make that sequence more impactful than it is in the game," Druckmann said.

It was certainly an interesting change and it made losing Sam even more heartbreaking. It was also an amazing casting choice considering that it was the first major acting gig for Keivonn Woodard. With that in mind, we can't wait to see more of Woodard in other awesome projects.

The Last of Us Episode 5 is titled Endure and Survive. It is now streaming on HBO Max.

Related: The Last of Us Finally Debuts First Terrifying Giant Clicker

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