Share with friends

Bella Ramsey took on a hugely challenging role when they were cast as Ellie Williams in HBO’s adaptation of The Last of Us. The character had already been immortalized by Ashley Johnson’s voice work in Naughty Dog’s acclaimed video games that the TV series is based on, so expectations were sky-high for Ramsey’s portrayal.

Many viewers were initially skeptical if the young actor could truly capture Ellie’s complex essence. However, Ramsey quickly silenced the doubters with their nuanced, emotional performance over the course of Season 1. They had already displayed their acting range at the tender age of 11 as the fierce Lyanna Mormont on Game of Thrones, becoming a fan favorite. Ramsey brought that same gravitas and depth to Ellie, despite being years older than the 14-year-old character.

Bella Ramsey Interview
Bella Ramsey Interview

Using Camera Tricks and Height to Portray Young Ellie

In the post-apocalyptic world of The Last of Us, Ellie is just 14 while Ramsey was 19 during the filming of Season 1. Through thoughtful lighting, camera angles, and other creative decisions, the showrunners were able to make the 20-year-old Ramsey look younger on screen. But Ramsey’s real-life petite stature also helps sell the age difference between actor and character.

At just 5 feet 1/2 inch tall, Ramsey is able to physically portray the 14-year-old version of Ellie in a believable way. They are around the same height as breakout Wednesday star Jenna Ortega, who also stands at just over 5 feet tall.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Bella Ramsey 🐏 (@bellaramsey)

In the video games, Ellie’s canonical height at age 14 is 5’3″. So at 5’1/2″, Ramsey is just a couple of inches shorter than Ellie’s original game height. This helps maintain the illusion and aligns closely with Ellie’s stature.

Height Difference More Noticeable as Ellie’s Ages

Actors playing characters younger than themselves is common, but can present challenges the wider the age gap. Luckily, Ramsey’s youth means they can credibly portray Ellie’s age. Their height also assists in conveying Ellie as a 14-year-old girl, versus the 19-year-old she is in the upcoming Season 2.

Bella Ramsey
Bella Ramsey

By Part II of the game, Ellie is 5’5″ tall at 19 years old. Hitting that target height could prove difficult for the petite Ramsey. But their emotional depth and screen presence should ensure an impactful take on older Ellie, even if her physicality reads as younger.

Ramsey’s Portrayal Eagerly Awaited in Season 2

Fans are eager to see talented star Ramsey continue Ellie’s journey when Season 2 starts filming in 2024. While their height differs somewhat from Ellie’s, Ramsey’s talent and age-appropriate dimensions allow them to inhabit the spirit of this iconic character.

The first season of The Last of Us is now streaming on HBO Max.

Share with friends