The Bookish Life of Pedro Pascal

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Annika Barranti Klein

Staff Writer

Annika Barranti Klein likes books, obviously.   Twitter: @noirbettie

José Pedro Balmaceda Pascal was born on April 2, 1975, in Santiago, Chile. His parents are doctors and were members of the resistance against the Pinochet dictatorship, and as a result fled to Denmark and then settled in the United States with Pascal and his three siblings.

Initially a competitive swimmer, Pascal discovered acting in his youth, attending the Orange County School of the Arts. In 1993, he moved to New York City and attended Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. Shortly after he graduated, his father was indicted on criminal charges relating to the fertility clinic he ran, and his family returned to Chile where his mother died in 1999; he uses her surname professionally.

One of Pascal’s earliest roles was a guest appearance on Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the season 4 premiere episode, “The Freshman” (he was still using his father’s name, and is credited as Pedro Balmaceda). There have been dozens of Buffy books and comics based on the series.

In theater, he has played Horatio in 2005 and 2007 productions of Hamlet, Don John in a 2014 production of Much Ado About Nothing, and Edmund in a 2019 production of King Lear — and those are just his Shakespeare roles.

In 2011 he appeared in The Adjustment Bureau, based on the Philip K. Dick short story “Adjustment Team,” and in a pilot for a Wonder Woman television series that sadly was not picked up — but that was not the end of Pascal’s time with the princess of Themyscira; in 2020 he starred in Wonder Woman 1984 as villain Maxwell Lord.

In 2013 he was in his second pilot for a series that never saw fruition, this time an adaptation of The Sixth Gun, a comic book by  Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt. The following year he was cast as Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones, the wildly successful adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.

In 2017 he was added to the cast of The Kingsman series for the second movie, The Golden Circle. The movies are based on the Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons comic book The Secret Service. The following year he was in the adaptation of James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk.

It was in 2019 that he flew (via jetpack) into all of our hearts as the Daddy of our dreams: Din Djarin, AKA The Mandalorian. He has starred in three seasons so far, and guest starred on The Book of Boba Fett, which basically served as season 2.5 of The Mandalorian. If you like the show, there is a book, The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian, not to mention our Star Wars archives with plenty of book and comics recs.

In 2020 he played Inigo Montoya in Chapter Two of Home Movie: The Princess Bride, based on the 1987 film adaptation of S. Morgenstern’s book The Princess Bride. (Okay, okay, it was William Goldman’s book I GUESS.) If you haven’t watched Home Movie, I implore you to give that link a click. It was made very early in the pandemic by a huge number of actors filming themselves, and it’s delightful — the whole thing is streaming on YouTube.

Most recently, Pascal stars as Joel on The Last of Us, based on the 2013 video game of the same title. A comic book adaptation, The Last of Us: American Dreams, came out the same year as the game.

Pedro Pascal is an internet darling, beloved for many things including his roles, his friendship with Oscar Isaac, and his allyship with the LGBTQ community — he has a transgender sister, Lux, and is a very supportive older brother. Due to his recent roles as a single man who accidentally becomes a father figure (Din Djarin, Joel), he has been called Daddy by a lot of grownass people (including myself), and he adorably embraces it.