On January 15, 2023, HBO's highly-anticipated, made-in-Alberta series will debut. The Last of US which stars Pedro Pascal (Mandalorian) and Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones) centres around Pascal who plays the character of Joel escorting Ellie, played by Ramsey, across the post-apocalyptic landscape of the U.S.
According to Sebastian Salazar, the communications spokesperson for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E.) Local 212 said that at one point, this series employed nearly half of its members on and off during production. I.A.T.S.E. has approximately 1,400 members in its ranks.
"We have seen great growth in the number of productions coming into the province and now with The Last of Us, it was kind of an anomaly because of its size, the number of people that were hired, and the number of Albertans working on it," he said. "Ghostbusters was huge because brought in a ton of money but The Last of Us - it's the biggest production we've seen in Canada as far as T.V. series."
Salazar underlined that the record numbers of local talent being hired is what his organization strives for because it demonstrates that home-grown Alberta talent can not only train and educate themselves in the province but can also be afforded the opportunity to work close to home.
"The fact that we have such incredibly talented people, well-trained people; that's the biggest focus for I.A.T.S.E. - training and safety," he said. "Albertans working on those sets, people who are getting professional training, they know what they're doing, they bring in their special skills. It's really important to highlight people in the community and we want people who are interested in the future of the motion picture industry and to be able to say it can be done from Alberta."
And one of those highly skilled uber-local talents that worked on The Last of Us was local makeup artist Amanda Tozser, who is an IATSE member. Tozser worked on the production of The Last of Us and is very excited to see it all come together.
Salazar was asked if he could pick which of the next big Hollywood blockbusters may come to the province, he said that has already happened.
"It was Ghostbusters," Salazar said definitively. "To have the Ecto-1 driving around a cornfield that we know was in Alberta, was amazing."
The Last of Us was filmed predominantly in the Calgary area, though there were sets built across the province, each taking hundreds of hours to put together.
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