Troy Baker on TLOU Scene: “The Second Most Difficult Day of my Life”, Neil Druckmann “The Best Director I Have Ever Worked With”
This is your SPOILER WARNING: If you’ve yet to get past the opening for The Last of Us, turn back immediately.
It was an interesting time over on a particular thread started on GameFaqs this past weekend, which stemmed from an article we published last week (major spoilers at the link if you haven’t beaten the game), with the thread title being “Troy Baker may not want to come back to [The] Last of Us.” The original poster, docman864, seemed to think that, because of the emotional difficulties involving a certain scene in the game, Troy Baker was upset with Neil Druckmann, the Creative Director, and may not want to come back.
Clearly, he misinterpreted everything, and it even prompted Troy Baker himself (who confirmed it was him via his Twitter account) to post this large reply in the thread (it was edited out by the mods, but captured by other posters):
To begin, I NEVER do this. I am sure there will be people on here that immediately call “bs” and say that it’s “not really me” but it is, so let’s just move on, shall we? Perhaps there will be another forum for this to be discussed, as well, but I happened to stumble upon this and I felt responding to it was pertinent and appropriate. This is specifically in regards to docman’s comment in regards to me not being happy with the creative director for Naughty Dog, Neil Druckmann. The article you cite, featuring a comment made by Neil in regards to the scene in the Prologue is not out of context, but I feel you’re extrapolating too much or at least jumping to some conclusions. Everything he says in that article is true. The first day we shot that scene was, with no exaggeration, the second most difficult day of my life. The first being the day of the actual event I was “pulling from” emotionally for the scene. As an actor it was one of the worst experiences of my life. It is a dangerous and precarious thing to delve into the darkest recesses of your mind where your conscious has tucked certain memories away in an effort to protect you. When you go poking and prodding around for them, especially in a novel and recreational effort to exploit them for your own purposes, you will discover very quickly how fragile those protective barriers are. Such was the case on the day we shot that scene. And as sweaty and red-eyed and emotionally wrecked as I was at the end of it, I was proud. “I NAILED it!” I said to myself.
…And I could not have been more wrong. I was so consumed with a desire to show the world a performance that made critics stand up and applaud, for gamers to weep because they were so immersed in a scene from a video game that I completely lost sight to what was actually happening in the scene and how it served the story. That I wasn’t happy working with Neil to be the only thing you take away from that article would not only be incorrect, it would be an injustice. When Neil came to me and told me we had to reshoot it, to me, was one of the finest moments and purest representations of what a truly remarkable director he is. Yes I was pissed. Yes I looked at him and said “Are you f***ing KIDDING ME?!” Most directors would have cowered and acquiesced, walking away mumbling “f***ing actors” under their breath and would return to the office trying to figure out how in the hell they were going to “fix it in post”. He didn’t. He had the integrity, the vision, the moxy AND the respect for me to stand up and tell me what was going to happen. He is, in all honesty, the best director I have ever worked with. That scene, with all of its complexity, all of its tragedy, all of its beauty, is what it is not because of me, but in spite of me. Neil took me to a place that I never thought was possible. And it was such an honest place, devoid of ego. I grew as an actor and as a person because of him and I’m eternally grateful. If any awards are to be given because of the performances in The Last of Us, let it be known that at the foundation is what Neil wrote and the space he cultivated for the actors to explore. I would work for that man, for Bruce Straley and the entire Naughty Dog team any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
With The Last of Us’ single player DLC set to be a “side story,” it remains to be seen if Troy Baker, or even Ashley Johnson, will be making their return, but we’ll let you know once we hear anything.
What do you think of Troy Baker’s response? Let us know in the comments below.