When Pedro Pascal was cast to play Joel in HBO’s adaptation of The Last of Us seemed like a logical choice to a lot of people. First, because he has a profile that matches the character, and second, because he is one of the most sought-after actors in recent years.
But then, although we see Pascal’s face everywhere these days, when did he become so ubiquitous? How did the actor’s career start and what jobs have we seen him in before? In today’s video, we answer these and other questions, in 10 facts.
10 – Political Asylum
Jose Pedro Balmaceda Pascal was born in 1975 in Chile. When Pascal was just nine months old, his parents, who were politically committed, opposed Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet and had to flee the country.
As political refugees, the family moved to Denmark and later settled in San Antonio, Texas. After several years, Pascal and his parents were able to regularly visit their relatives in Chile. He grew up speaking both Spanish and English.
9 – Competitive swimmer
Before becoming interested in the performing arts, Pascal wanted to be a swimmer. And actually, he was pretty good, participating in several state championships until age 11, when his family resided in Texas.
Pascal’s time in the pools, however, did not last forever, as he soon discovered a passion for acting. Pascal first fell in love with reading and it was through reading that he discovered his true love. Reading classics like “The First Night of a Man” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” conquered it. This led him to read more and more dramas and to develop an interest in the theater.
8 – Indiana Jones
After discovering his passion for art, Pascal often found escapism in entertainment from a young age, watching movies and reading as many plays as he could. He admired many heroic characters as a boy, but one of his favorites was the legendary treasure hunter Indiana Jones.
Pascal often re-enacted scenes from the movies, which were the cause of not just one, but two instances where he broke his arm while pretending to be the legendary hero. It seems that Pascal has always been extremely dedicated to his craft.
7 – Beginning of career
Pascal’s first audition was for the film The Two Faces of a Crime (1996), which was unsuccessful. He didn’t give up on his acting career after that failure, however, and was later cast in TV series, including appearances in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Touch of an Angel.
The first film of his career was a 2005 drama called Sisters. Set in 1976, the film follows two sisters who are separated when they escape political turmoil in their home country of Argentina. Pascal plays a character named Steve, who falls in love with one of the sisters.
Throughout the first decade of the 2000s he continued to appear in small roles on series such as Law & Order, The Good Wife, graceland and The Mentalist.
6 – Game of Thrones
The key turning point in Pedro Pascal’s career came in 2014, when he was cast in game of Thrones, the HBO phenomenon. He learned the show was looking for an actor in his 30s to play Oberyn Martell, a prince who could fight as well as flirt.
Pascal did the test with a friend by recording it on an iPhone. Actress Sarah Paulson shared the recording with Amanda Peet, wife of co-showrunner of game of ThronesDavid Benioff, and Pascal’s work so impressed him that he got the role.
The Red Viper, Oberyn Martell, has a brief stint in the books, something that is reflected in the series. However, it was Pascal’s screen presence that made this character so iconic and endearing.
5 – Success
The visibility of game of Thrones quickly put Pedro Pascal on another level, and he soon began to receive several invitations to large productions. His first major role after Game of Thrones came in Narcos, where he played agent Javier Peña. He stood out in the series – which was initially about the life of Pablo Escobar – to the point of assuming the role in the third season.
From then on, Pascal became an increasingly sought-after actor, appearing in major productions such as Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Wonder Woman 1984plus, of course, The Mandalorianthe first Star Wars series on Disney+, which we’ll talk about below.
4 – The Mandalorian
The Mandalorian is one of Pascal’s biggest roles, but curiously this is a character who is always with his face covered, as his credo dictates that he not let anyone see him without his helmet.
That fact would have dissuaded many actors from taking the role, especially someone whose image is on the rise. However, Pascal was won over by the character initially known as “Baby Yoda”.
And actually, the helmet has also come in handy. Currently an extremely in-demand actor, Pascal had a lot of schedule commitments when he accepted the role, so stunt doubles filled in for several scenes in the first season. Pascal would later record only his character’s dialogue for these scenes.
3 – Sister
Pedro Pascal’s younger sister, Lux Pascal, also works in the field. Lux is an actress in Chile.
Furthermore, Lux recently came out as transgender. She revealed in a magazine article that she identifies as female and goes by the name Lux Pascal. In the interview, Lux noted that her brother was 100% supportive of her transition.
“Pedro has been an important part of that,” explained Lux. “He is also an artist and served as a guide. He was one of the first people to gift me with the tools that started to shape my identity.”
2 – Friendship with Oscar Isaac
Pedro Pascal’s best friend is also a Star Wars actor and is also Latino. This is Oscar Isaac, who needs no introduction. The two met while working on an off-Broadway play called “Beauty of the Father” in 2005 and have been fast friends ever since.
Oscar Isaac does not have a social network, but Pascal always posts pictures of the two together at events or celebrations. In interviews, Pascal often jokes that Isaac is the “love of his life”.
1 – Joel
Pascal admits that when he was approached for the role of Joel in The Last of Us, he had never heard of the character or the game. So, he called his nephews, who immediately told him he needed to take the role without question.
Incidentally, before the start of production of The Last of Us, Pedro Pascal was instructed by HBO’s creative team not to play the original game, presumably so as not to influence his interpretation. However, he decided not to obey.
It turns out that, even with the rebellion, the actor was not able to advance much in the game alone, as he is not very skilled with video games. Ultimately, as he revealed to WIRED, Pascal had to enlist the help of his nephews to keep track of The Last of Us’ full progression.