- Pedro Pascal Today: Emmy Award Nominations
- Who Is Pedro Pascal?
- Quick Facts
- Early Life
- Struggling Young Actor
- TV Shows: ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Narcos,’ ‘The Last of Us’ and More
- Movies: ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ and More
- Parents and Sister
Pedro Pascal Today: Emmy Award Nominations
Pascal received a 2023 Primetime Emmy Award nomination for his performance in The Last of Us, making history as only the second Latino actor to compete for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Additionally, he earned two other nominations this year, setting a record for most Emmy nods by a Latino actor in a single year.
Who Is Pedro Pascal?
Pedro Pascal is a Chilean American actor who had his breakout role as Oberyn Martell on the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones starting in 2014. The part set him on a path to stardom, including acclaimed performances in TV shows Narcos and The Mandalorian, as well movies like Wonder Woman 1984. His leading performance in the HBO post-apocalyptic drama series The Last of Us earned him a historic Primetime Emmy Award nomination.
FULL NAME: José Pedro Balmaceda Pascal
BORN: April 2, 1975
BIRTHPLACE: Santiago, Chile
ASTROLOGICAL SIGN: Aries
José Pedro Balmaceda Pascal was born in Santiago, Chile, on April 2, 1975. His mother Verónica Pascal was a child psychologist, and his father, José Balmaceda, is a former fertility doctor. In the 1970s, Pascal’s parents opposed Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet and had to flee the country with 9-month-old Pascal and his sister. As political refugees, the family moved to Denmark, then settled in San Antonio. After several years, Pascal and his family were able to regularly visit family in Chile. He grew up speaking Spanish and English.
Movies were a big part of Pascal’s childhood, and his father often took the family to the cinema. Pascal became so enthralled by Indiana Jones that he broke his arm on two separate occasions while pretending to be the character. After completing fifth grade, Pascal and his family moved to California. He was bullied there, but things got better when he started at the Orange County School of the Arts. “I was obsessed with drama and classic movies and reading plays,” Pascal told The New York Times.
In 1993, Pascal began studying acting at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. A fellow student introduced him to Sarah Paulson, who became a lifelong friend.
Struggling Young Actor
Pascal’s first audition was for the legal mystery film Primal Fear (1996). He didn’t get the part and later said he “was unemployed for about 10 years,” finding work almost exclusively in television guest star roles during that period.
After the death of his mother in 1999, Pascal changed his professional name from Balmaceda to Pascal to honor her. “And also, because Americans had such a hard time pronouncing Balmaceda,“ he told Variety in 2020. Pascal made appearances on TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Good Wife, Homeland, Nurse Jackie, and several Law & Order shows. He was cast in a Wonder Woman television adaptation in 2011, but it wasn’t picked up.
Pedro Pascal and Oscar Isaac, seen here in March 2019, have been friends since 2005.
Pascal was also active in stage productions during this time, appearing in multiple theatrical productions. He and fellow actor Oscar Isaac appeared together in an off-Broadway play in 2005, and they formed an enduring friendship. Pascal won the Los Angeles Critics Circle Award and Garland Award for his performance in a production of the play Orphans, and he wrote his own play called Flaca Loves Bones, which was directed by comedian Sarah Silverman in 2010. However, Pascal remained a journeyman actor until he joined HBO’s fantasy series Game of Thrones.
TV Shows: ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Narcos,’ ‘The Last of Us’ and More
Pedro Pascal portrayed real-life DEA agent Javier Peña in Narcos.
Game of Thrones
A fan of Game of Thrones, Pascal learned the series was seeking an actor in his 30s to play Oberyn Martell, a quick-witted prince who flirts as well as he fights. Pascal auditioned for the role by having a friend record him on an iPhone. Sarah Paulson, who has known Pascal since the 1990s, shared that recording with her friend and fellow actor Amanda Peet, and Paulson said it was so good that “we flipped out.” Peet passed it along to her husband, Game of Thrones co-showrunner David Benioff, and the show’s casting team was so impressed that Pascal landed the part.
Despite his relatively brief screen time, Oberyn Martell became a fan favorite character when he was introduced in 2014’s season 4. “The disarming charm Pascal brings to the role immediately grabs our attention, but it’s his cunning and edge of barely concealed anger that makes him really stick out,” read a review from Collider. Pascal said of his character, who seeks vengeance against the powerful Lannister family for the death of his sister, “He just doesn’t care. He’s not calculating, he’s out here for revenge and doesn’t try to hide it at all.” The series is famous for killing off important and beloved characters, and Oberyn Martell proved no exception, as his character died in the eighth season during a fight scene that Collider described as “one of the most graphic scenes in all of television history.”
Pascal gained additional acclaim in 2015 for his leading role in the Netflix crime drama series Narcos, which highlighted the story of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. Pascal portrayed Javier Peña, the real-life DEA agent who helped lead the investigation and international manhunt of Escobar. Collider wrote that Pascal “carries the series admirably, expanding the scope of his character,” while Screen Rant described him as “a charismatic actor [who] is finally offered a chance to lead the semi-anthological series.” The series ran three seasons through 2017.
Since 2019, he has appeared as the title character in the hit Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian, portraying a silent but deadly bounty hunter who wears Boba Fett–like armor and who protects a small alien popularly known as “Baby Yoda.” The helmet-wearing Mandalorian rarely shows his face, a fact which would have deterred many actors, but it also proved helpful: Pascal had existing commitments when he accepted the part, so stunt actors stood in for him during several scenes in the first season. Pascal later recorded his character’s dialogue for these scenes.
Pascal said he sought to make the character relatable and accessible, despite the fact that his face is frequently concealed. “We’re all kind of covered in our own armor and terrified of taking that armor off, and that’s the thing that crosses him over into a character that we’re really going to want to follow,” he said. Pascal also described the Mandalorian as more morally ambiguous than most protagonists in Star Wars, which he said are typically either good or evil: “In this one, we start to play with the boundaries of that more, and that is dealt with very interestingly with this character. He’s not your typical hero.” Show creator Jon Favreau has said he’s written the script for the fourth season, but Disney has yet to announce a release date.
The Last of Us and Historic Emmy Nomination
Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey co-star in The Last of Us.
In 2023, Pascal took on a starring role in The Last of Us, an HBO adaptation of the 2013 video game of the same name. Set in a post-apocalyptic world in which a mass fungal infection has turned most humans into zombie-like creatures, Pascal portrays Joel, a hardened survivor haunted by his past trauma and failure. He attempts to smuggle a young girl named Ellie out of a quarantine zone and across a pandemic-ravaged America. Bella Ramsey co-stars as Ellie, a headstrong 14-year-old orphan who is immune to the infection. The part of Joel was reportedly offered to Matthew McConaughey and Mahershala Ali before it went to Pascal.
Pascal and Ramsey both received wide critical praise for their performances. Critic Valerie Ettenhofer wrote that Pascal “puts in what may be the best work of his career” in The Last of Us, adding that he “finds countless different shades of nuance in a character who’s often purposefully stone-faced and plays his rare moments of vulnerability just as well.” Although Ramsey and Pascal both appeared in Game of Thrones, they didn’t share any scenes together and hadn’t met prior to working together on The Last of Us. Nevertheless, Ramsey said “that chemistry was just there immediately and just grew and developed as Joel and Ellie’s did.”
Pascal received a 2023 Primetime Emmy Award nomination for his performance, making history as only the second Latino actor nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. He joins Jimmy Smits, who earned four nominations for NYPD Blue. The nod for The Last of Us was just one of three for Pascal this year. He received Emmy nominations for his guest appearance on Saturday Night Live and narration in Patagonia: Life on the Edge of the World, setting a record for most Emmy nominations by a Latino actor in a single year.
Movies: ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ and More
As his TV career was taking off thanks to Game of Thrones and Narcos, Pascal had his first movie roles, including Bloodsucking Bastards (2015), Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017), and Triple Frontier (2019).
His first major movie was 2020’s Wonder Woman 1984. He portrayed villain Maxwell Lord, alongside Gal Gadot as the titular superhero. A charismatic but corrupt businessman who gains supernatural powers after stealing a mysterious artifact, Pascal’s character was modeled in part on real-life figures like Donald Trump and Bernie Madoff, according to director Patty Jenkins.
Pascal was also cast in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022), an action comedy starring Nicolas Cage as a fictionalized version of himself. Pascal, who plays a billionaire super-fan of Cage’s character, was also a longtime fan of the real-life Cage and was delighted to join the cast.
This fall, Damon is set to appear in the comedy film Drive-Away Dolls, directed by Ethan Coen. It tells the story of two friends (played by Margaret Qualley and Geraldine Viswanathan) on a road trip who find themselves in possession of a stolen briefcase that had been lost by several criminals, one of whom will be played by Pascal. Drive-Away Dolls is scheduled for a theatrical release on September 22.
Parents and Sister
In 1995, Pascal’s father, José Balmaceda, was one of the doctors running a fertility clinic at the University of California, Irvine who were accused of taking eggs and embryos from unknowing patients, some of which were implanted in other women. The doctors were also accused of underreporting cash payments. Pascal has long maintained that his father did nothing wrong.
José avoided facing charges when he returned to Chile in September 1995, where his wife and Pascal’s two younger siblings joined him. Pascal’s mother, Verónica Pascal, died by suicide in 1999. In 2021, Pascal’s father agreed to plead guilty to tax fraud. (At the time of the alleged egg and embryo thefts, it wasn’t illegal to steal human tissue.)
Pascal has supported his younger sister Lux, who publicly came out as transgender in 2021. Pedro described Lux, an actor and transgender activist, as “one of the most powerful people and personalities.”
- I’m not dangerous, but I have a sharp nose. I will probably be playing bad guys forever because of my face.
- The TV stuff means you’re getting, in about three to eight days of work, more money than an entire run Off Broadway. And that’s not even a lot of money. You want Law & Order so badly that you just want to die.
Fact Check: We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn’t look right, contact us!
Staff Editorial Team and Contributors
The Biography.com staff is a team of people-obsessed and news-hungry editors with decades of collective experience. We have worked as daily newspaper reporters, major national magazine editors, and as editors-in-chief of regional media publications. Among our ranks are book authors and award-winning journalists. Our staff also works with freelance writers, researchers, and other contributors to produce the smart, compelling profiles and articles you see on our site. To meet the team, visit our About Us page: https://www.biography.com/about/a43602329/about-us
Senior News Editor, Biography.com
Colin McEvoy joined the Biography.com staff in 2023, and before that had spent 16 years as a journalist, writer, and communications professional. He is the author of two true crime books: Love Me or Else and Fatal Jealousy. He is also an avid film buff, reader, and lover of great stories.
Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts
I am an expert and enthusiast assistant. I have access to a wide range of information and can provide assistance on various topics. I can help answer questions, provide information, and engage in discussions. Let's dive into the concepts mentioned in this article.
Pedro Pascal is a Chilean American actor who has gained recognition for his performances in various TV shows and movies. He was born on April 2, 1975, in Santiago, Chile. Pascal's breakout role came in 2014 when he portrayed Oberyn Martell in the HBO fantasy series "Game of Thrones" [].
Pedro Pascal was born as José Pedro Balmaceda Pascal in Santiago, Chile. His mother, Verónica Pascal, was a child psychologist, and his father, José Balmaceda, is a former fertility doctor. In the 1970s, Pascal's parents opposed Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet and had to flee the country with Pascal and his sister when he was just 9 months old. They became political refugees and moved to Denmark before settling in San Antonio. Pascal grew up speaking Spanish and English [].
Struggling Young Actor
Pascal's journey as an actor had its challenges. After completing fifth grade, Pascal and his family moved to California. He faced bullying but found solace when he started attending the Orange County School of the Arts. Pascal developed a passion for drama, classic movies, and reading plays. In 1993, he began studying acting at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. During the early years of his career, Pascal struggled to find consistent work and was mostly cast in television guest star roles. It wasn't until he joined the cast of "Game of Thrones" that his career took off [].
TV Shows: 'Game of Thrones,' 'Narcos,' 'The Last of Us' and More
Pedro Pascal's notable TV roles include:
- Game of Thrones: Pascal portrayed Oberyn Martell, a quick-witted prince seeking revenge against the Lannister family. Despite his relatively brief screen time, his performance made a lasting impact on fans [].
- Narcos: Pascal gained acclaim for his leading role as Javier Peña, a real-life DEA agent, in the Netflix crime drama series that focused on the story of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar [].
- The Mandalorian: Since 2019, Pascal has appeared as the title character in the hit Disney+ Star Wars series. He portrays a silent but deadly bounty hunter who wears Boba Fett-like armor and protects a small alien known as "Baby Yoda" [].
- The Last of Us: Pascal stars in the HBO adaptation of the popular video game. He plays Joel, a hardened survivor in a post-apocalyptic world, and received critical praise for his performance [].
Movies: 'Wonder Woman 1984' and More
In addition to his TV roles, Pedro Pascal has appeared in several movies. Some notable ones include:
- Wonder Woman 1984: Pascal portrayed the villain Maxwell Lord in the 2020 superhero film, starring alongside Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. His character was modeled in part on real-life figures like Donald Trump and Bernie Madoff [].
- The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent: Pascal joined the cast of this 2022 action comedy, starring Nicolas Cage as a fictionalized version of himself. Pascal plays a billionaire super-fan of Cage's character [].
These are just a few examples of Pedro Pascal's work in both TV shows and movies. He has showcased his versatility as an actor and has received critical acclaim for his performances.
Emmy Award Nominations
Pedro Pascal received a 2023 Primetime Emmy Award nomination for his performance in "The Last of Us," making history as only the second Latino actor to compete for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Additionally, he earned two other nominations that year, setting a record for the most Emmy nods by a Latino actor in a single year [].
I hope this information provides a good overview of Pedro Pascal's career and accomplishments. If you have any more questions or need further information, feel free to ask!