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PHOTOS: Crews transform Nanaimo’s downtown into ‘The Last of Us’ set

Further road closures come into effect May 10 for filming of HBO TV series

Downtown Nanaimo is being transformed into post-zombie-apocalypse Seattle ahead of filming for The Last of Us TV series.

Crews have been building sets in Diana Krall Plaza, Commercial Street, Skinner Street and Wharf Street this month, and this week the sets have become recognizable to fans of the HBO series The Last of Us and the video games it’s based on.

Banners referencing Seattle’s Capitol Hill, a setting in the video game, and 2003, the year the zombie apocalypse takes place, have been installed on Skinner Street. As well, derelict vehicles with Washington State licence plates have been trucked in, a sign for Seattle café chain Cherry Street Coffee House adorns a set, and crews are strategically placing ivy and other greenery to represent nature taking back the city.

The Last of Us takes place 20 years after a zombie apocalypse, following a survivor who is hired to smuggle a teenage girl out of a quarantine zone.

“What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal and heartbreaking journey as they both must traverse the U.S. and depend on each other for survival,” notes an HBO press release.

HBO announced in early 2023 that The Last of Us had been renewed for a second season. The first season starred Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie, and the second season will add Isabela Merced as Dina and Kaitlyn Dever as Abby.

Executive producer Craig Mazin, in the press release announcing the second season, expressed gratitude to the millions of people who watched the first season.

“The audience has given us the chance to continue, and as a fan of the characters and world … I couldn’t be more ready to dive back in,” he said.

According to the Downtown Nanaimo Business Association, the 200 block of Skinner Street will be closed until May 17, and a section of Commercial Street will be closed from Friday, May 10, until May 15. Wharf Steet and Diana Krall Plaza will be closed until May 31.

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