Return to Men of 2020

Words by ‘LLERO Editors

If you think you’ve seen Pedro Pascal before, you probably have. The veteran actor is quite the traveler – both literally and figuratively. One could say it’s his mantra.

His career has taken him to the fictional land of Westeros in shows like Game of Thrones to the very real streets of Colombia in the Netflix hit Narcos. In 2020 Pascale made his biggest journey into the far reaches of the galaxy as the star of Disney+ breakout hit The Mandalorian. Pascal plays the titular role of bounty hunter Djar Djin in the first ever live action Star Wars series. He, along with Baby Yoda, have become household names.

Traveling is nothing new for Pascal. The Chilean-born actor was an infant when his family was forced to flee Santiago. Pascal’s mother Verónica, a child psychologist and his father, José, a fertility doctor, had supported socialist president Salvador Allende.

Their opposition to the country’s military dictator Augusto Pinochet found them seeking political asylum. They took José Pedro and his three siblings to Denmark.

After a brief time in Europe the Pascale family ultimately settled in the United States. Pedro grew up in both Orange County, California and San Antonio, Texas. Early on in his childhood he was involved in competitive swimming but traded his trunks for the stage when he began taking drama classes. He studied acting at the Orange County School of the Arts and after graduating in 1993, he did what most aspiring thespians do:  took off for the bright lights of New York City. He studied at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and graduated in 1997.

Pascal’s career like any working actor’s was a slow build. There were appearances  on television in big shows including  Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Good Wife and Homeland. Not fitting into Hollywood’s cookie cutter Latino expectations made his trajectory an interesting one. “Being Latino and being an actor has been a unique struggle and opportunity. When you don’t fit into what may be a more stereotypical vision of somebody whose name is Pedro is, it can be a little bit harder to navigate.” This did not stop Pascal. 

His big break came in June 2013, when he was cast as Oberlyn Martell in the HBO series Game of Thrones.  Martell would partake in a memorable trial by combat against the Mountain and be etched in GoT lore. His character would utter what would seem to be art imitating life, “It’s a big and beautiful world, most of us live and die in the same corner we were born and never get to see any of it. I don’t want to be most of us.”  eems eerily close to Pascal’s own journey.

But 2020 would prove to be a career year for Pascale. It was then that he landed his star making role, serving as Din Djarin, better known as The Mandalorian. The show has been a breakout hit, putting Pascal (and Baby Yoda) in the spotlight. Aside from great action sequences and sets, one of the trademarks of the show is that Pascal’s character is never permitted to remove his helmet. Thus, Pascal is unable to show his face. Quite ironic for a man whose face is familiar but whose new fame has kept concealed. But we all know who’s there under the mask and look forward to what’s next for the consummate traveler.