Where is 'The Last of Us' filmed?

Where is 'The Last of Us' filmed?
The official poster from 'The Last of Us' (HBO)

HBO’s post-apocalyptic drama ‘The Last of Us’ aired its first episode last night and exceeded all expectations. The series is undoubtedly one of the biggest shows of 2023 and created a lot of buzz before its release. Based on the video game series of the same name, the HBO show primarily focuses on Joel (Pedro Pascal) who is given the task of transferring a 14-year-old girl named Ellie (Bella Ramsey) out of an oppressive quarantine zone. However, they soon realize that the journey will be brutal and would have to depend on each other for survival.

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The premiere received universal acclaim from the critics as well as viewers and apart from brilliant performances and epic storytelling, the show is getting a lot of praise for its gorgeous cinematography. The post-apocalyptic world created in the series is pretty similar to what we see in the video game series and the creators did a wonderful job in searching for places that could fit perfectly with the moody atmosphere.

A still from 'The Last of Us' (HBO)
A still from 'The Last of Us' (HBO)

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So, where was the show filmed? Let’s take a look at locations where the HBO series was shot.

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Calgary – Alberta (Canada)

Most of ‘The Last of Us’ has been shot in Calgary, a beautiful city in the province of Alberta in Western Canada. The sequences of the fictional Boston quarantine zone in Episode 1 were actually shot in Calgary and a lot of buildings were used to create the replicas of the iconic buildings that played an important part in the video game series. One of the biggest reasons for shooting in Canada is that production houses get a lot of discounts because of unionized labor. On the other hand, the Canadian government gives foreign production houses a subsidy called the Film Production Services Tax Credit, which now equals 16 percent of the Canadian labor costs.

Calgarys skyline with its skyscrapers and office buildings. Bow river and centre Street Bridge in the foreground. Alberta - Canada
Calgary's skyline with its skyscrapers and office buildings. Bow river and center Street Bridge in the foreground. Alberta - Canada

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Fort Macleod – Alberta (Canada)

Another Canadian town used for filming the series was Fort Macleod in the province of Alberta. This town was mainly used to shoot the prologue because they changed many the settings of many stores to make it look like the characters are living in Austin, Texas. In the first few minutes of the premiere, we see Joel, his daughter Sarah, and his brother Tommy living in Austin, and trying to save themselves from the zombie infection, also known as Cordyceps.

Fort McLeod, Canada - July 14, 2012:  The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Fort MacLeod in the town of Fort MacLeod and on the banks of the Oldman River. The Fort houses First Nation and RCMP memorbilia ... it was built in 1874.
Fort McLeod, Canada - July 14, 2012: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Fort MacLeod in the town of Fort MacLeod and on the banks of the Oldman River. The Fort houses First Nation and RCMP memorabilia... it was built in 1874. (Getty Images)

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Edmonton – Alberta (Canada)

Edmonton is another town in Alberta province that was used to film several sequences and was mainly used to create the ruined part of Boston city. The legislature building in the town turned out to be the most important structure during the premiere because the building was used to film the scene in which Joel gets to know that he has to deliver Ellie across America. Edmonton also gives a lot of subsidies to foreign production houses, which is also known as Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit (PSTC).

Skyline of downtown Edmonton Alberta Canada at twilight blue hour.
Skyline of downtown Edmonton Alberta Canada at twilight blue hour.

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In this scheme, a taxable Canadian corporation or a foreign-owned corporation can apply to avail of the benefit. According to the government’s official website, the PSTC is “designed to enhance Canada as a location of choice for film and video productions employing Canadians, as well as to strengthen the industry and secure investment.”

Apart from the above-mentioned places, the show filmed several sequences in places such as Kansas City in Missouri. However, it’s still unclear what places were used to film those scenes.

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‘The Last of Us’ is the largest TV production in Canadian history and is a joint production by Sony Pictures Television, PlayStation Productions, Naughty Dog, the Mighty Mint, and Word Games.

The series currently holds a rating of 99% on the review site Rotten Tomatoes.

‘The Last of Us’ will return to HBO with new episodes every Sunday at 9 pm EST.

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