The Last of Us star Bella Ramsey isn’t “particularly anxious” about the backlash towards the show’s LGBTQ+ storylines.
The HBO action-adventure stars The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal as Joel, a smuggler tasked with escorting teenager Ellie (Ramsey) out of a quarantine zone across a post-apocalyptic wasteland in the United States.
Although the series faithfully adapts the queer elements from the best-selling Naughty Dog game of the same name, including Ellie’s sexuality, homophobic viewers have, of course, made their voices heard.
The acclaimed third episode, which focuses on the love story between Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett), was review-bombed by miserable homophobes on sites such as IMDB and Metacritic.
In a recent interview with GQ, Ramsey said of the show’s conservative audience: “I know people will think what they want to think. But they’re gonna have to get used to it.
“If you don’t want to watch the show because it has gay storylines, because it has a trans character, that’s on you, and you’re missing out. It isn’t gonna make me afraid. I think that comes from a place of defiance.”
Praising the third episode, Ramsey revealed that she “was on the verge of tears throughout it, and cried at the bit in the montage when they got married.”
Ahead of the series’ debut earlier this year, the actor told The New York Times that their gender has “always been very fluid”.
“Someone would call me ‘she’ or ‘her’ and I wouldn’t think about it, but I knew that if someone called me ‘he’ it was a bit exciting,” said the star, who opts for “non-binary” on a form when it’s an option. “I’m very much just a person.”
“Being gendered isn’t something that I particularly like, but in terms of pronouns, I really couldn’t care less,” added Ramsey.
The star wore a chest binder for “90 per cent” of filming The Last of Us to help her focus better, she continued to tell GQ: “Which probably isn’t healthy, like please bind safely.”
Lux Pascal, Pascal’s transgender sister, was “super supportive” to Ramsey and had several conversations with them about sexuality and gender identity, “and they weren’t always deep: they could be funny and humorous, the whole spectrum.
“We were just very honest and open with each other.”
Ramsey added that, while she doesn’t identify with the gender binary, she isn’t fazed by playing female characters: “This is what bothers me more than pronouns: being called a ‘young woman’ or a ‘powerful young woman’, ‘young lady,’ but I’m just not [that].
“Catherine Called Birdy, I was in dresses. Young Elizabeth, I was in a corset. And I felt super powerful in that. Playing these more feminine characters is a chance to be something so opposite to myself, and it’s really fun.”
The Last of Us continues exclusively on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW every Monday.