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Note: this contains mild spoilers The Last of Us season premiere on HBO.

So great, do we really need to start worrying about our portobellos and shiitakes now?

The Last of Us began on Sunday night with a chillingly cold open prologue set in 1963. Mummy and: Spartacus reputation) issues a dire warning to the unbelieving host (Silicon Valley”Joshua Max Brenner) about the impending fungal threat. Hannah explains that some fungi can infect and control their animal hosts, and that humans could be next if such deadly spores evolve, for example due to climate change, and survive under the right conditions. slightly warmer climate.

“If the world gets a little warmer, there’s reason to thrive,” he said. “Candida, ergot, Cordyceps, Aspergillosis. each of them may be able to penetrate our brains and control not millions, but billions of people. Billions of puppets with toxic minds… and no cure or prevention for it. They don’t exist, it’s not even possible to make them.”

We asked showrunner Craig Mazzini, who also produced the HBO fantasy ChernobylMuch of Hannah’s prophetic speech was based on real science.

“It is real. is real to the extent that everything he says mushrooms do, they do,” Mazin says. “And they’re currently doing it, and they’ve been doing it forever. There are some remarkable documentaries you can watch that are pretty scary. Now his warning, what if they develop and enter us? – From a purely scientific point of view, will they do to us what they do to ants? I do not think. I doubt. On the other hand, he is right. LSD and psilocybin are mold. What I told John was: “What we’re doing in this scene is telling people that this has always been here.”

Mazin said the scene made him think about a similar concern he had while filming Chernobyl.

“What was so chilling to me was that [the Chernobyl nuclear plant] blew up that night, but it could have exploded a week ago or it could have exploded a month ago,” he said. “Which means right now there’s something just waiting to explode, you just don’t know about it. It was so sad to tell people. “We knew it, it happened, now we’re going to show you the night it finally happens.” Not suddenly, but finally.”

On the subject of a completely different premiere episode, we also asked about the inspired choice of Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down” in the show’s closing moments, noting that it seemed pretty perfect; One of the few 80s hits that didn’t. was overplayed and felt both foreboding and darkly comic.

“My wife has an encyclopedic knowledge of 1980s music,” Mazin said. “And I said: “Okay, Melissa, this is what I need.” And I literally said everything you said. I need it to be a song that I kind of know but haven’t heard in a while. One that hasn’t been beaten. And I needed it to have context. I needed to make sense. I should have had a hunch, and ideally, without being super on the nose, give me a comment. I had to start in a certain way so we could show the radio coming on. And then he said: “Don’t ever let me down again!” And I say, ‘Oh my God.'”

Read the latest behind-the-scenes cover story from The Hollywood Reporter The Last of Us With Mazin, showrunner Neil Druckman and stars Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal.


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