Two twin babies from Airdrie will get their 15 minutes of fame thanks to an upcoming episode of The Last of Us – a new HBO series based on an acclaimed video game of the same name.
Eight-month-old twin siblings Mila and Luca Ricioppo are set for a cameo in an episode of the hit HBO series, which was filmed in Alberta last year. The show is set in a post-apocalyptic world, 20 years after a global pandemic was sparked by a mass fungal infection.
Airdrie resident Lindsey Ricioppo said the opportunity for her newborn babies to take part in the show arose after she was getting her hair done in March 2022. Still pregnant with the twins at the time, she said she was chatting with the mother of her hairstylist, who happened to own a talent agency called Platinum Talent Management.
“I told her I was pregnant with twins, and she told me…they were actually looking for newborn twins to submit for this huge upcoming TV series on HBO,” Ricioppo said.
“She was like, ‘Depending when your babies are born and how you’re feeling, let me know if it’s something you’d want to do and we can submit those photos to production.”
Mila and Luca were born shortly after that encounter, on May 7, 2022. Since the birth went well, Ricioppo contacted her hairdresser’s mom to inquire about the opportunity of appearing on the show. After submitting photos of Mila and Luca, the producers of The Last of Us ended up picking the twins to appear in the production.
Three weeks later, Ricioppo said she and her tiny twins made their way to The Last of Us set for two days of filming in Calgary.
“I think we were on set May 29 and 30,” she recalled. “The twins ended up being three weeks old, and everything lined up perfectly.”
According to Ricioppo, she can't reveal too much about the scene her babies will star in this season, but noted her daughter Mila's scene appears very briefly in the show's official trailer, which has already been viewed more than 19 million times on YouTube.
The new mother said what she can divulge is that Mila plays the baby version of one of the main characters, Ellie, in a flashback scene.
“In the official trailer, there’s an actress named Ashley Johnson who you can see holding my daughter Mila,” she said. “Ashley Johnson actually voices Ellie in the video game, and this whole series is obviously based on The Last of Us video game. I think they wanted to have Ashley Johnson tied into the TV series somehow, so I think it was a cool inter-twining moment where they have the voice of the original Ellie giving birth to her.”
Ricioppo said she is tied to secrecy when it comes to saying much more about her babies' upcoming scenes, only that they haven't aired yet.
The first episode of The Last of Us was released on Jan. 15. Episodes will be released every Sunday on HBO or Crave TV. The Jan. 22 episode featured a shot of the Calgary skyline as the main characters walked across the Fourth Avenue flyover. The next episode will be released on Jan. 29.
When the episode with Mila and Luca is about to air later this season, Ricioppo said she plans to host a private viewing party at her home in Airdrie with some of her friends and family.
“I’m mostly excited to see how they edited everything together,” said Ricioppo, who moved to Airdrie last year. “We filmed over two days, and it was two different scenes. I don’t even know, really, how the storyline goes. I know what they’re portraying, but it will be neat to see how it all comes together and what footage they use.”
While she couldn't say whether or not The Last of Us will be a one-and-done when it comes to her babies' involvement in show business, Ricioppo said the whole experience was a blast. She said it was neat to meet some of the show's cast and crew, including the director and executive producer, and that everyone on set treated Mila and Luca like royalty – the twins were even provided their own trailer.
“Maybe if another opportunity presented itself, or when they’re older it’s something they’re into, I’d say, ‘Hey, why not?’” she said. “But I don’t think I’d get an agency for them or start doing head shots.
“But if it presented itself... sure, why not?”