Actress Ellen Page accuses Naughty Dog of ripping off her likeness for The Last of Us
"It was not appreciated."
Actress Ellen Page has accused Naughty Dog of ripping off her likeness for PlayStation 3 exclusive The Last of Us.
When The Last of Us' Ellie was revealed observers remarked that she looked similar to Inception and Juno star Page.
In May 2012 Naughty Dog announced it had redesigned her so she more closely resembled the actor that plays her: Ashley Johnson. "We went a little bit younger, and we think that we got a little bit more Ashley inside of there, which we like," game director Bruce Straley told Eurogamer at E3 2012. "And we really want to respect Ashley for the great performance that she's giving us."
Naughty Dog has said that it's a "complete coincidence" that the studio changed the appearance of Ellie in The Last of Us after she was said to resemble Ellen Page - and before the actress was confirmed as the star of Quantic Dream's Beyond: Two Souls.
Both games are published by Sony - The Last of Us by Sony Computer Entertainment America, and Beyond by the European branch.
"We didn't even know what was going on with that," Straley told us. "We don't know what's going on with other games."
Straley said the suggestion that Ellie looked like Page came as a surprise to the Santa Monica developer - and not even a pleasant one. "We hear what people are saying - we didn't realise that ourselves, because we just try to push for the characters that we want. And when we see the reactions we're like, OK, we don't like that... We want our characters to stand on their own two feet."
Still, that didn't stop Page from voicing her displeasure on Reddit over the weekend, saying: "I guess I should be flattered that they ripped off my likeness, but I am actually acting in a video game called Beyond Two Souls, so it was not appreciated."
After Page's Reddit outburst, Naughty Dog creative director Neil Druckmann tweeted: "Ellie from The Last of Us was perfectly played by @TheVulcanSalute. No one could've done a better job. Please go follow her and retweet."
Back in April Eurogamer asked Quantic Dream's Guillaume de Fondaumiere about Ellie and her striking resemblance to Ellen Page - the actress the French studio had signed to play Jodie Holmes in Beyond.
"For us it wasn't too much of an issue because we knew we were working with Ellen Page," Fondaumiere said, "so it was then a problem on the side of Naughty Dog to change the model, I guess. I don't think that they were really working on the Ellen Page character; I think they had a similar intention, in the sense that they were probably also looking for a character that was both fragile and strong.
"They probably inadvertently were inspired by Ellen Page, but indeed, they had to slightly change the model such that she wouldn't look like Ellen Page because, indeed, we have Ellen Page."
Fondaumiere said he hadn't talked to Naughty Dog about the issue after the redesign. "No," he said, "it was something that was clarified, I would say, very early on and there was no reason to talk about it afterwards."
We've asked Sony for comment and will update if it responds.