How The Last of Us stars Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal found their ‘love language’

Bella Ramsey Pedro Pascal

Bella Ramsey has opened up about forming an adorable friendship with their The Last of Us co-star Pedro Pascal, and on the importance of seeing LGBTQ+ love onscreen in the post-apocalyptic world of the hit HBO series.

After a scene-stealing turn as the diminutive Lady of Bear Island in fantasy behemoth Game of Thones, Ramsey shot to prominence with their role as Ellie – a queer, wisecracking teen who is immune to the fungal infection – in The Last of Us, opposite Pascal’s grieving father Joel. 

Ramsey hasn’t minced their words when it comes to clapping back at trolls upset by the show’s LGBTQ+ storylines, previously telling GQ that anti-LGBTQ+ haters are “gonna have to get used to” seeing queer stories on TV, and that the sad backlash “isn’t gonna make me afraid”.

Between sharing a beautiful Trans Day of Visibility message to their younger self and quitting Twitter with a heart-warming thanks to their “gay army”, Ramsey has cemented their status as a beloved LGBTQ+ icon.

In a wide-ranging interview with L’Officiel on Thursday (27 April), Ramsey opened up about their relationship with certified daddy Pedro Pascal and initial fears that the pair wouldn’t get on with each other.

“I adore him,” Ramsey said. “He’s just a very safe person. I felt instantly safe with him and was so relieved that we got along. 

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“I was so worried. I put so much pressure on our relationship because I knew that we had the rest of the year together, and then press, and then more seasons. The minute that I actually let go of that pressure, we just bonded. 

“He’s the best. He’s so kind and generous and we had a lot of fun. We were like two little kids messing about.”

Ramsey also shared that their special bond with their co-star was formed over a shared love of music – and describing Pedro Pascal’s taste as “top-tier”. Honestly? Can’t say that we’re surprised. 

“His music taste is pretty – I can’t think of the word, but it’s pretty great,” Ramsey said. “It’s top-tier.

“Music was what we bonded over. Before we were confident with each other – when we were still shy – we would play each other songs. That was our way of communicating.”

Ramsey agreed that music was their “love language”, before diving into a discussion about Ellie’s unapologetic queerness and LGBTQ+ love in a terrifying world ravaged by a fungal pandemic.

“I remember the character description that came through in the initial email about Ellie. Part of what Craig wrote in her description was that ‘she’s gay and she doesn’t care’, or I think the actual words were ‘doesn’t give a f**k what you think’.

“I just loved that from the get-go.

“It was really nice to have two really queer episodes,” they continued. “Like, gay people exist, so why shouldn’t they exist in the apocalypse?

“I really liked that it didn’t feel tacked on. It was so integral to this story, and so organically done, that it didn’t feel like, Oh, we’re just putting in these queer people for representation. This is the story, and it’s just a story of two people loving each other, and it was really beautiful.”

screenshot of Bill and Frank in The Last of Us shows their characters played by Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett embracing as sunlight can be seen shining through their garden on the left-hand side of the screen
Frank (Murray Bartlett) and Bill (Nick Offerman) in The Last of Us. (HBO)

The Last of Us features two stand-out queer storylines: episode three’s emotionally devastating gay love story between Bill (Parks and Recreation‘s Nick Offerman) and Frank (The White Lotus‘ Murray Bartlett) and the beautiful – and perhaps equally tragic – episode seven exploration of Ellie and former roommate Riley’s (Storm Reid) relationship.

Fans praised the show’s decision to go all-out for its queer characters, calling Bill and Frank’s episode “groundbreaking”.

Based on the acclaimed video game of the same name, The Last of Us‘ writers gave Bill and Frank, characters whose relationship was only hinted at in the PlayStation game, a full, stunning one hour and 20 minutes devoted to their love story.

In their L’Officiel interview, Ramsey also admitted that they would’ve done the same as Joel in the series’ explosive finale if roles were reversed. The final episode sees Joel gunning down everyone in his path to prevent Ellie from undergoing an operation that would kill her – but potentially save humanity from the cordyceps brain infection.

“I think she would have saved Joel,” Ramsey said, “which would have been even more stupid because Joel’s pretty old.”