The Untold Story Behind Lev’s Voice in ‘The Last of Us Part II’

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Before you meet Lev in The Last Of Us Part II, you see his arrow pierce the cheek of a person who’s about to strike Lev’s sister Yara with a hammer. There is nothing refined about Lev’s introduction. He is swift and calculated, flitting between the bushes in the darkish like a spirit, or perhaps even a small wild animal, to remain hidden and save his sister from a spiritual cult they’ve so desperately tried to flee from.

Abby—the antihero and divisive focus of the final half of the sport—has been strung up by the neck and is inside seconds of shedding her life when she hears Lev for the primary time. His voice is sharp, fast, high-pitched, and full of concern as he calls out his sister’s title, vaulting over a stone barricade with the benefit of a 13-year-old boy, bow drawn, arrow nocked. Abby thinks she is saved.

Lev appears at his sister, then up at Abby—his head shaved, forehead furrowed, mouth agape—not sure of whether or not he ought to minimize Abby down, as a result of her folks have lengthy been at battle together with his folks, battling for management over Seattle in a postapocalyptic world ravaged by an infection.

So when Yara tells Lev to chop her down, Lev makes use of his voice to push again. “She’s one of them,” he says. But Yara is insistent. He should save her. All life, you see, is treasured. Lev does what he’s informed, albeit somewhat reluctantly, and when Abby is minimize free, the three of them start their very own harrowing journey into the night time.

I: There Are Two Sides to Every Story

Lev is a secondary character in The Last Of Us Part II, fairly presumably essentially the most divisive, most-talked-about sport of the final technology since its launch one 12 months in the past. Players step into Abby’s sneakers for the final half of the sport as she embarks on a path to redemption. But the story of Lev, a 13-year-old transgender teen who’s compelled into exile when his personal neighborhood rejects him, is much more compelling.

Lev is on the run from the Seraphites, an authoritarian non secular cult whose members adhere to strict predetermined roles. He has defied his assigned function as a Seraphite elder’s spouse, and shaved his head, a call reserved for males. By reclaiming his identification this fashion, he places himself and his household in danger.

“One of the things we wanted to explore was this made-up religion, and how religion, especially organized religion, can also accommodate those wonderful and horrible things as far as spirituality but also xenophobia and the exclusion of certain identities,” says Neil Druckmann, inventive director and copresident of Naughty Dog, the sport’s developer. “Anytime you do something like that, you want to make sure it’s not tokenism, that it’s something that fits with the story.”

Lev’s story is riddled with complexity. In a world full of violence and insufferable grief, a world the place it’s simpler to fret in regards to the enemy than it’s to look after others, Lev merely needs to be left alone to stay out his reality in peace. He is full of hope and certainty—he is aware of with no shadow of a doubt who he’s and the sort of individual he needs to turn out to be—and he asks for nothing in return however to be allowed to exist. Lev’s story resonates with many in the LGBTQ neighborhood, as a result of it’s a well-recognized narrative of belonging and survival.

But over the course of the sport, Lev evolves from a quiet, reserved boy struggling to seek out his place in the world to maybe the sport’s most compelling character and sole voice of cause. In reality, the second half of The Last of Us Part II hangs on Lev’s each phrase, each motion, and each alternative to find his voice.

II: The Scars of Past Lives

In Lev’s story, actor Ian Alexander noticed many parallels to his personal life: his non secular upbringing, the rejection he suffered from his dad and mom, how he shaved his head as an act of insurrection.

Photograph: Tracy Nguyen

Authenticity in illustration was a key issue in bringing Lev to life. It’s additionally a difficult function for an actor. As a secondary character, Lev’s growth is pushed by AI, in response to what the participant, as Abby, is doing. Hundreds of strains have been recorded to account for each variable or potential end result in the sport.

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