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Filming in Nanaimo brings ‘The Last of Us’ fan fever

Fans of the TV series try to catch a glimpse of actors

The Last of Us craze is sweeping Nanaimo, as fans of the HBO TV series gathered just outside the set’s barricades downtown for the chance to catch a glimpse of the actors.

The series stars Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller and Bella Ramsey as Ellie Williams as they navigate a world filled with zombie-like beings and a fascist military government that won’t hesitate to execute civillians who step out of line.

Ronin Broad works at the Courtyard by Marriott, just outside of the filming area. He stepped outside for the chance to see Pascal.

“I am [a Pedro Pascal fan], I mean everybody is. Isn’t he like, daddy? Isn’t that the thing? He’s Pedro Pascal,” Broad said. “He’s a humble guy, he’s real. I like that he’s open about his anxiety.”

Broad was first introduced to the series through the video game in 2013, then the TV show, and said “the show’s different from the game, but I like it, it’s good.”

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

Another fan, Alex Zwick, visited downtown with her toddler for the sole purpose of trying to get a view.

“[My toddler] doesn’t totally get why we’re here, having not seen the show obviously. So I tried to explain to her, ‘We’re looking for Pedro,’” Zwick said. “He’s been in Narcos, Game of Thrones, other shows we like, and he’s nice to look at, obviously.”

Payton Kriska was on the Island visiting her parents from Alberta. When she found out they were filming here she said she “almost died.”

“I’m trying to see Pedro,” Kriska said. “Specifically Pedro.”

She said her love of Pascal comes from not just his on-screen appearances, but also his interviews.

“Just how humble and kind he is, but also hilarious. I’m in love.”

The excitement has created opportunity for Ironworks Café and Crêperie, situated on Commercial Street at the edge of the filming area. Owner Dina Stuehler told the News Bulletin the café has had “more than double” its typical sales and she doesn’t expect business to slow down until after production.

“One of my staff saw Bella on a horse. They have a horse downtown today,” Stuehler said. “So she got to see both the horse and Bella.”

Filming was set to take place Monday and Tuesday, May 13-14, after weeks of set preparation.