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“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.”
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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.

For years, Pascal specialized in one-off roles and secondary characters. With help from his friend Sarah Paulson, he eventually joined the cast of Game of Thrones, portraying passionate and vengeful prince Oberyn Martell in Season 4. He earned international fame for his performance, enabling him to finally land higher-profile gigs. Before HBO aired Oberyn's final appearance, he agreed to co-star on 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.

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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 a role in the Star Wars franchise, as paternal refugee-turned-Mandalorian bounty hunter Din Djarin. Consequently, the first live-action Star Wars TV show, eventual Emmy winner The Mandalorian, would also become the first program to give long-time Star Wars fan Pascal top billing from the start. 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.


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Roles:

Tropes applying to Pedro Pascal's performances and career 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.
  • 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.
  • The Cast Showoff:
    • He competed in Texas swimming championships as a child, until he quit the swim team to focus on his drama classes. He continues to swim as a hobby, and in some aquatic scenes in his productions.
    • While studying anthropology in Madrid, he worked as a go-go dancer in a nightclub (but didn't undress onstage). He still dances ocassionally, such as in this Happy Socks Dada Ad.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: 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 responded to the phrase "pedro pascal look alike" by comparing himself to Nathan Fillion, Jeremy Renner, and Quentin Tarantino.
  • The Charmer: His friendly charisma gives the likes of Marcus Pike, Oberyn Martell, and Javier 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.
  • Creator's Favorite: Pascal has expressed an especially strong fondness for Oberyn Martell, even years after Oberyn's final appearance.
  • Determinator: As discussed in an Entertainment Tonight interview from the Wonder Woman 1984 press tour, Pascal's relentlessness towards success in the competitive field of acting passes on to several of his characters, who'll take any means necessary to achieve their goals.
  • Endearingly Dorky: Pascal skillfully injects allure and pathos into such characters as movie-obsessed Eccentric Billionaire Javi Gutierrez, telekinetic Bumbling Dad Marcus Moreno, and Socially Awkward Hero Din Djarin.
  • 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, Mexico, or Caucasian lineage, among other non-Chilean backgrounds.
  • Friend to All Children: A doting uncle and godfather, Pascal wins over child actors and his friends' kids with his good humor and kindness. He demonstrates his love of children more seriously when supporting multiple causes to help marginalized youth.
  • 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".
  • Iconic Outfit: He often dons this souvenir T-Shirt from the Fleetwood Mac Tusk tour for events without a strict dress code.
  • 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 Amazon Studios' director of local originals for Latin America, Canada, and Australia. 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 when he adopted a Southern Gentleman persona for Agent Whiskeynote . For The Mandalorian and the Community table read, he proved that he could also put on a guttural growlnote .
  • Manly Facial Hair: His "rakish mustache", as GQ described it, provides a defining feature of almost all of his performances, and eventually his real-life appearances as well. In the Autocomplete Interview, he claimed to have received the following advice after consecutively agreeing to do Much Ado About Nothing and Narcos with a mustache:
    "Don't ever get rid of your mustache. You look like my grandmother without it."
  • 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 Djarin 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 surname as his professional last name, 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. For The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, he took on the role of Nicolas Cage's Ascended Fanboy as a testament to Cage's influence on his acting.
  • Self-Deprecation: The self-proclaimed dork tends to mock himself in social media and interviews.
  • 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.
  • 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 improv, 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 co-starred in from The Equalizer 2 to We Can Be Heroes 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.


 
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