Isabela Merced Says Her Chemistry With Bella Ramsey in ‘The Last of Us’ Season 2 Was There on Day One

The Big Picture

  • Isabela Merced was pleasantly surprised to be directly offered the role of Dina in The Last of Us series.
  • Merced and Bella Ramsey share a palpable chemistry as Dina and Ellie in the emotionally complex story.
  • Fans can expect a continuation of the deeply human storytelling in the eagerly anticipated second season.

The Last of Us Season 2 — Isabela Merced on Her Chemistry With Bella Ramsey

As the eagerly anticipated second season of HBO’s The Last of Us draws near, one of the newest members of its cast, Isabela Merced, has opened up about her journey into the heart of the acclaimed story, taking on the role of Dina alongside Bella Ramsey’s Ellie. Chatting with Collider’s Christina Radish while promoting her latest movie, Turtles All the Way Down, Merced shared insights into her preparation for the role and the unique experience of joining the cast of one of the most acclaimed video game adaptations to date.

When asked about her familiarity with the source material, Merced expressed her enthusiasm for the game series:

” Yeah. I have been a fan of the series . I actually hadn’t played the game until I found out about me potentially being in it, but I only played the second game and that was such an experience. I had a lot of fun. People say, ‘How did you have fun playing it? It’s a very sad story.’ But it’s just so well-made. When you see the Bloaters, your heart starts racing, your hands are all sweaty, and you can barely hold onto the controller. It’s just an amazing experience. I consider anything that makes my heart rate go up to be a fun experience, so I enjoyed it. Great work from Neil Druckmann .”.

How Did Isabela Merced Get Cast in ‘The Last of Us’?

The path to securing the role of Dina was unexpectedly straightforward for Merced, who was surprised to find the role offered to her directly. “I have to say they offered it to me, which is crazy coming out of my mouth,” she said, reflecting on the surreal nature of her casting.

” Neil and Craig [Mazin] had reached out to my team and they said, ‘We wanna meet with her for The Last of Us ?’ And my team was like, ‘Hey, for what role?’ And they didn’t specify. They just said, ‘Have her watch the game on YouTube.’ And I was like, ‘I wanna play the game.’ And then, we had a meeting and they proposed it at the meeting. Usually, you don’t ever say anything because it could always change. You never know what’s gonna happen. And then, the strike happened. But it was just a mind-blowing instant connection with Craig and Neil. By the way, Craig and I have a lot of issues in common. Our brains work faster than our mouths, and I just love that about him. He’s definitely one of my go-tos for a life guru, in general, now.”

Merced’s excitement extends beyond the mere act of being part of the series, right down to the dynamics she shares with her co-star, Bella Ramsey. Dina and Ellie have a complex romantic relationship in The Last of Us Part II, but their love and connection is truly palpable.

“I’m so excited for people to see my chemistry with Bella. Bella and I have so much chemistry. From the first day, it was there. There’s no work to be done. I really respect Bella. I just saw Catherine Called Birdy and Bella has such range and just an honesty about their work. I’m learning so much. I’m very honored to be here.”

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