The post-apocalyptic series begins with a bloodcurdling reflection. But how true is that? Here is Craig Mazin’s answer.
If you have come across the first episode of the series of the moment, The Last of Us (in Italy available exclusively on Sky and streaming only on NOW absolutely simultaneously with HBO), it is possible that you are now dealing with a new anxiety. The post-apocalyptic drama, adapted from the hit video game of the same name, imagines a world where modern civilization has been destroyed by an epidemic generated by the mutated Cordyceps fungus, which has infected humans turning them into aggressive zombie-like creatures. Terrified as we are by recent history, it is questionable whether this is a real threat.
The Last of Us: Is the Cordyceps Mushroom Threat Real?
In the opening scene of The Last of Usan epidemiologist played by John Hannah (The Mummy) gives dire warning of the looming fungal threat: some fungi may infect and control their animal hosts, humans included, next should such deadly spores evolve — say, due to climate change — to survive in even a climate slightly hotter. “Ascomycetes, Candida, Ergot, Cordyceps or Aspergillus – any fungus could enter our brain and control not millions, but billions of people,” says Dr. Neuman. “Billions of puppets with poisoned minds with a single, eternal and shared goal: to spread the infection to the last human being alive by any means necessary. And there will be no effective or preventive drugs. No cures. They do not exist and will be realized impossible”. Scary, don’t you think?
But is that how things really are? The Hollywood Reporter asked the co-creator Craig Mazinof which we all enjoyed the equally shocking Chernobyl. “It’s real. It’s real to the extent that everything it says about what mushrooms do, they do,” Mazin replied. “They’re doing it now and they’ve been doing it forever. There are some amazing documentaries that are pretty terrifying. Now, his reasoning – what if they evolve and get inside us? – from a purely scientific point of view, they would make us exactly what they do to ants? I don’t think so. I doubt it. On the other hand, he’s right: LSD and psilocybin come from mushrooms. What I said to John was, ‘What we’re doing in this scene is telling people that the truth has always been there for all to see”.
The Last of Us, the end of the world gets beautiful: On Sky and NOW the post-apocalyptic series based on the popular video game
Mazin added that the scene brought back to him a similar concern he had while filming Chernobyl. “What made my blood run cold is that (the power plant) blew up that night, but it could have blown up a week earlier or a month earlier,” she said. “Which means right now there’s something just waiting to explode – we just don’t know. It was really upsetting to tell people, ‘They knew, it was there, now we’re going to show you the night it finally happened. ‘. Not suddenly, but eventually.”
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