Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Pedro Pascal

Go To

“Being Latino and being an actor has been a unique struggle and opportunity. There is a stereotype of Latino representation in television and in film that can be contradicted by the actual world of Latinos. When you don’t fit into what maybe a more stereotypical vision of what somebody whose name is 'Pedro' is, it can be a little bit harder to navigate, but I think that it's changing.”

José Pedro Balmaceda Pascal (born April 2, 1975 in Santiago, Chile), known professionally as Pedro Pascal, is an award-winning Chilean-American actor and director, best known for playing anti-heroes and evildoers. He emigrated to America as a baby, when his parents' acts of opposition against Augusto Pinochet forced the family to flee Chile. Pascal studied acting at the Orange County School of the Arts, and the Tisch School of the Arts in New York, specializing for many years afterwards in one-off parts and secondary characters.

Pascal eventually earned international fame for his performance as Game of Thrones Season 4's passionate and vengeful prince Oberyn Martell, enabling him to finally land higher-profile gigs. By the time HBO aired Oberyn's final appearance, Pascal agreed to co-star in the Netflix series Narcos, as DEA Agent Javier Peña. While most of the stars didn't stay beyond the first Story Arc, he stayed through Season 3, elevating from third to top billing in the process.


Pascal's movie and TV roles after Narcos consist mostly of morally-gray father figures, especially after he co-starred in the Space Western Prospect. As it garnered acclaim in the indie movie circuit, he claimed the title role of the first live-action Star Wars TV show, The Mandalorian — turning it into the first program to give him top billing from the start. In the wake of the Emmy-winning series' success, long-time Star Wars fan Pascal has acknowledged the chance that he'll reprise paternal refugee-turned-bounty hunter Din Djarin in other projects. A few months after Season 2 finished airing, his renown for sympathetically portraying various flawed fathers led to HBO casting him as Joel Miller in the TV series adaptation of The Last of Us.



Tropes applying to Pedro Pascal and his roles include:

  • Anti-Hero: Many of the people he portrays commit immoral acts for noble purposes. Pascal discussed this trope with another Game of Thrones cast member, Lena Headey, when she interviewed him for Hunger TV.
    ... the anti-heroes are central to these television shows, and people are really getting behind them, even though they're not necessarily the most moral characters. So I'd say that I've become more familiar with the character who's obviously very flawed but gets you on their side — you have complicated feelings about them.
  • Badass Mustache: A defining feature of almost all of his performances. When he and his friend Oscar Isaac did a WIRED Autocomplete Interview to promote Triple Frontier — the first movie to co-star both actors — Pascal claimed to have received the following advice after consecutively agreeing to do Much Ado About Nothing and Narcos mustached:
    "Don't ever get rid of your mustache. You look like my grandmother without it."
  • Be Yourself: Gave a speech teaching this for Hispanic Heritage Month.
    Do not compromise anything that is true to yourself to meet some exterior standard. That doesn't work. The thing that works is that you be you — and that's the thing that people end up recognizing, and falling in love with, and wanting to experience: your truest self.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: In the Autocomplete Interview, he compared himself to Nathan Fillion, Jeremy Renner, and Quentin Tarantino.
  • The Charmer: His friendly charisma convincingly gives the likes of Pike, Oberyn, and Peña a romantic flair, and delights people who work with or meet him in real life.
  • Chewing the Scenery: He tends to exaggerate his facial expressions, make broad hand motions, and speak passionately or powerfully. If he starts Suddenly SHOUTING! as well, he crosses the threshold into Large Ham territory.
  • Chronically Killed Actor: He usually dies in his TV roles such as Game of Thrones and the Law & Order franchise. He's not even safe in some of his movie roles such as Kingsman: The Golden Circle and The Equalizer 2.
    Oscar Isaac: He's made a career by dying spectacularly.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: He described his younger self to GQ Germany as an imaginative "problem child" who preferred to live in fantasy than reality, and would act out his dreams when his psychologist mother asked to analyze them. As an adult, he still tends to talk or behave unconventionally; for starters, when GQ Germany asked him in the video interview to choose between boxers and briefs, he reasoned that he shouldn't "hurt the boxers' feelings," before choosing them over the briefs.
  • Creator's Favorite: Oberyn Martell, judging by Pascal's excitement to discuss him in this run-down of his most iconic roles from Graceland to Triple Frontier. Even after The Mandalorian garnered Pascal some more fans, he refuses to declare Din superior to Oberyn.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Straight male GoT fans formed a subreddit to declare their love for Oberyn, leaving Pascal "super-flattered."
    It's so wonderful. I think it's all a spectrum, right? Straight men can have — do have — crushes on other men. It doesn't make them gay, it doesn't make them bi.
  • Face of a Thug: He's attributed his tendency to land parts with immoral qualities, despite his courteous, nonviolent personality, to casting people who think his aquiline nose looks like a Sinister Schnoz.
    I'm not dangerous, but I have a sharp nose. I will probably be playing bad guys forever because of my face.
  • Fake Nationality: His resume includes characters from Lithuania, Morocco, and Mexico, among other non-Chilean countries. Judging by the names, some of his characters might even be white.
  • Friend to All Children: A doting uncle and godfather, Pascal wins over such child actors as Wonder Woman 1984's Lucian Perez and We Can Be Heroes' YaYa Gosselin with his good humor and kindness. He demonstrates his love of children more seriously when supporting multiple causes to help marginalized youth.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • He was a competitive swimmer as a child, entering the Texas State Championships at age 11. He later quit the swim team to focus on his drama classes, but continues to swim as a hobby.
    • While studying anthropology in Madrid, Pascal worked as a go-go dancer in a nightclub (but didn't undress onstage). He still dances occasionally, such as in this Happy Socks Dada Ad.
  • I Have Many Names: Has professional acting credits under the names "Pedro Balmaceda", "Alexander Pascal", and finally "Pedro Pascal". Before he became a professional actor, he used an anglicized Embarrassing Nickname in high school: "Peter Balmaceda".
  • It Runs in the Family: Pascal and his siblings inherited a love of movies from their cinephile father, resulting in three of them entering show business. Pascal's older sister, Javiera Balmaceda, became director of programming for HBO Latin America shortly before Game of Thrones Season 4 premiered, and has since moved on to Head of Originals for the Chile, Argentina, and Columbia branches of Amazon Studios. Their younger sister, Lux Pascal, has also taken up acting; she appeared in Narcos Season 3 as Elias.
  • Man of a Thousand Voices: Sometimes he acts with a fake accent, such as when he played Dashing Hispanic-like Oberyn Martellnote  or Southern Gentleman-like Agent Whiskeynote . For The Mandalorian and the Community table read, he proved that he could also put on a tough-sounding raspnote .
  • Method Acting: While unwilling to become a full-time method actor, he engages in this during ADR sessions, recreating his character's motions in the recording booth. For Narcos, his co-star Boyd Holbrook also arranged for the real Steve Murphy and Javier Peña to give them a week of DEA training. Pascal performed Enforced Method Acting in The Mandalorian Season 1 finale, when he filmed the scene of Din suffering from head trauma after accidentally colliding with a piece of plywood.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He goes topless in several of his roles, particularly if he plays someone who Really Gets Around. Sometimes, he even performs on stage completely nude.
  • Nom de Mom: He took on his mother's maiden name as his professional surname, to honor her after her death, and also because "Pedro Balmaceda" proved too difficult for non-Latinos to pronounce.
  • One-Take Wonder: Prospect co-director Zeek Earl has referred to Pascal as an actor who insists on nailing scenes in one try, and usually succeeds.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Often crossing over with Awesome, Dear Boy, many of the parts he accepts or pursues tie in with an IP that interests him — such as the aforementioned Game of Thrones and Star Wars — and/or boast at least one creative he admires.
  • Self-Deprecation: The self-proclaimed dork tends to mock himself in interviews and social media.
  • Stage Names: He spent a year as "Alexander Pascal" after too many casting directors called him paler than "Pedro".
  • Star-Making Role: Oberyn Martell widely exposed Pascal's talents to the public. The Mandalorian later proved that he could headline a successful show, especially after Season 2 increased his screentime.note 
  • Starving Artist: Recalled his days as an impoverished New York theater actor in this video, one of several Actors Equity put out in a campaign to raise Off-Broadway performers' wages. He tried waiting tables for his day gig for a time and got fired from over twenty restaurants in New York City, which you have to admit is pretty impressive.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Pascal remarked that studying the Oberyn cast prepared for the GoT episode "The Mountain and the Viper" made him realize that he had grown up into the spitting image of his father; pictures he's shared of them from different decades help illustrate this.
  • Sweet and Sour Grapes: Discussed in interviews tracing his rise to fame; Pascal admitted that when he reached his 30s, he decided to accept that he would never land his big break, and should settle for whatever gigs would help pay the rent... and then he landed his dream part for Game of Thrones.
  • Throw It In!: Has a knack for improvising his way through TV and stage performances, such as when he ad-libbed this zinger in Narcos:
    Steve Murphy: Ever been duck huntin'?
    Javier Peña: No, I have not been duck hunting, you... fucking hillbilly.
  • Typecasting: Every action movie he's co-starred in since The Equalizer 2 has cast him as a patriarch with a disagreeable agenda, and every science fiction drama he's headlined since Prospectnote  has him take life-risking, occasionally unscrupulous measures to protect an orphan. While Pascal already played some parental characters before Prospect, this interview promoting Wonder Woman 1984 — which premiered one week after The Mandalorian Season 2 finale dropped — chalks up these specific trends as side effects of hitting middle age.
    I've totally moved into "daddy", haven't I?... I'll take it. It's time.
  • Unkempt Beauty: He often sports Messy Hair and patchy stubble, to the point that one YouTube commenter said he constantly looks like he fell asleep on someone's couch, yet he won so many hearts that People magazine declared him one of the sexiest men alive in 2020.
  • What Could Have Been
    • Before Pascal auditioned for Game of Thrones, he played Agent Ortega in a Live-Action Adaptation of The Sixth Gun, which didn't make it past the pilot. He did share a picture of himself as Ortega, and later reunited with some of the other cast members on other projects.
    • Before HBO began airing Pascal's GoT episodes, Patty Jenkins directed him in the pilot for the ABC drama Exposed, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead as an Intrepid Reporter. This didn't get picked up, either, but fansites dedicated to either Winstead or Pascal posted screencaps and a bootleg video. Pascal already loved Jenkins' Monster, and his performance and on-set presence for Exposed impressed her so much, that she eventually offered him the role of Max Lord in Wonder Woman 1984 — without requiring him to audition.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: