The Last of Us star Bella Ramsey says she had ‘instant’ chemistry with co-star Storm Reid

The Last of Us

Bella Ramsey has spoken about her instant off-screen chemistry with Storm Reid, who plays her crush in the latest episode of The Last of Us.

Please note that spoilers follow for the The Last of Us episode 7.

Based on the video game of the same name, the hit HBO series follows Ellie (Ramsey) and Joel (Pedro Pascal), who team up to escape an oppressive quarantine zone and travel across a post-apocalyptic US that has been decimated by a fungal disease.

Episode seven, titled “Left Behind”, shares a flashback of the day Ellie finds out she is miraculously immune to the to the Cordyceps infection. And, much like the gut-wrenching third episode, which showed the love story between Frank (Murray Bartlett) and Bill (Nick Offerman), “Left Behind” also treats viewers to a queer romance.

In the episode, Ellie reunites with her sparky best friend and former roommate Riley (Reid), and spends the day with her exploring an abandoned shopping centre.

Ellie develops a crush and eventually kisses Riley; but just as the pair embrace, they’re attacked by an Infected. Despite the episode ending in tragedy, viewers praised the sweet coming-of-age storyline – and the chemistry between the pair.

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In a new interview with Variety, Ramsey discussed building chemistry with Reid on and off set.

“We just got along instantly,” she explained.

“We didn’t have a lot of time to get to know each other beforehand. We very much just got to know each other as we were shooting, and it helps that we got along instantly. We trust each other and felt very safe with each other. It wasn’t awkward at all.”

Reid echoed Ramsey’s sentiment, telling Vulture that they first bumped into each other as she was on her way to a fitting and Ramsey to a rehearsal.

“It was perfect,” she explained. “We had a connection instantly. She’s a brilliant talent but also a brilliant person and has the best personality. I’m glad we hit it off as soon as we met because I think our rapport personally informed [our] relationship.

“We spent a month together and saw each other every day. You were kind of forced to create a relationship. Having those conversations, getting to know her, ‘What’s your favourite colour?’ Those entry questions of getting to know a person. You get deeper and the connection starts to grow.”

Storm Reid as Riley. (HBO)
Storm Reid as Riley. (HBO)

Reflecting on the kiss, Ramsey said: “My heart would beat faster and my palms got sweaty, because we were so very much immersed in what we were doing. It becomes real between ‘action’ and ‘cut'”.

Reid, meanwhile, is glad to be bringing representation to the genre.

“It meant a lot to be able to represent women in general, to represent Black women, and furthermore to represent queer women and Black queer women. I always try to be part of projects that are purposeful, where people can feel empowered by the art that I choose to create,” she concluded.

The episode continues The Last of Us‘ dedication to creating meaningful LGBTQ+ stories – and Ellie’s backstory with Riley is just the beginning of her journey when it comes to her relationships and sexuality. The second season promises to delve into her relationship with Dina, who appears in part two of the video game series, with some viewers speculating that she has already made her first cameo in a previous episode.

Viewers will also meet trans-masc character Lev in the second series.