Narcos fans probably felt intrigued by his work as Javier Peña, one of the two DEA agents who try to catch Pablo Escobar, the character that gave Wagner Moura a nomination to the Golden Globe. That was not the only opportunity this actor - Chilean by birth, he grew up in United States - had to grab the attention on TV audiences: besides his famous turn as Game of Thrones’ Oberyn Martell, Pascal and also worked in The Mentalist, Graceland and The Good Wife. Pascal, who also starred along Matt Damon in the failed adventure of The Great Wall, is in San Diego presenting Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the sequel to the hit directed by Matthew Vaughn , once more starring Taron Egerton and Colin Firth, and adding Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore and Halle Berry to the all-star cast. Pedro, who shares his scenes with Channing Tatum as one of the American agents in the story, told us in this interview about the new phase in his career and his Latin American roots.
In Kingsman, the Golden Circle, you work with four Oscar winners and one really famous guy. Looking at your career, it seems that you have worked your whole life to get to the place where you are getting. But with the paparazzi and all of that, are you sure you want to go this way? Are you scared?I think that the fortune comes in many ways. I have been acting my whole life and I was very much a struggling actor from New York when I moved there at 18 to study. And then I started auditioning as soon as I graduated college and basically lived that hustle up until bigger jobs came by and changed things for me. Comic-Con is an extremely exaggerated version of exposure for me – here I am together with four Oscar winners. I grew up watching these people work. So I think I sidestepped a lot of the trappings of fame because I think I might be able to get away with being a character actor. We will see, hopefully.
What do you think changed everything for you? Was it Game of Thrones?It was Game of Thrones and then Narcos. I knew what the situation was with Game of Thrones, I knew what I was getting involved witj and I knew that things would change if I didn’t screw it up. Because the character is gorgeous and the source material is obviously special. And David Benioff and Dan Weiss are incredible writers. So it was a setup for success. Narcos was much more of a gamble. I didn’t know what I was getting into but I knew José Padilha as a filmmaker and I knew his documentary and I knew his Tropa de Elite films, but I had no idea how the show would be received or if it would be well executed. But I never would have gotten Narcos if I hadn’t gotten Game of Thrones. So Game of Thrones really was the moment of change for me.
In Narcos you have a special quality that worked very well for the show, because you were the bridge between those two worlds. Do you feel that this has been a good tool for you in this career?Yes I do. I think that there was a kind of otherness that started with Game of Thrones that they were looking for, as far as the Oberyn Martell character is concerned, and I pulled it very specifically from my Latin roots in terms of my interpretation of that character. With Kingsman, what is completely fascinating -and I think it has to do with Matthew Vaugh - is that my character is a very iconic kind of a US sort of guy, a sophisticated cowboy. And I think that in the past I wouldn’t ever be considered for this kind of part, simply because of my first name. And for Matthew it wasn’t like that, which is pretty cool.
Today, that works well in Hollywood. They need that.
Exactly. And you know that as a South American, we come from every corner of the world. And so that sometimes doesn’t fit into a casting box. The fact that I can play someone whose first name can be Jack, but my name is Pedro, can be confusing for people. It can limit your opportunities.. So I do feel that Matthew Vaughn has sort of opened it up even further for me, by inviting me into this world where I am not just playing the guy who is fluent in Spanish or is bringing a Latino accent into the world of Westeros - he is expanding the world even further for me and as it should be for all Latinos.
The coup d'etat in Chile forced your parents to leave and move to the United States. Are you grateful to life that you are here because of that?I don’t know how to answer the question because we know only what we experience. I am grateful to have both worlds. I am grateful that my parents got out alive obviously and that they were able to go back. Because my father lives in Chile and I have gone back my whole life to visit the 34 first cousins that I have that all live in Santiago, and now of course to see my dad. But then, at the same time, I ended up in the States under two years old . I am a product of US public schools and that’s what I know. And I am grateful for that as well. So I think it would have been wonderful to grow up in Chile and to want to be an artist there. I am pretty sure that the way that my parents raised me, they didn’t limit us from doing what we wanted to do and I probably would have found some way to do that no matter where I was, because of them.
How far do you want do go? What is still your dream as an actor?I really don’t know. I like working and I think more than anything I like working with good people. And that is a really special part of the experience. For many, they say what is the role that you want to play and for me, it’s more of who do you want to work with, or what kind of experience do you want to have? And that’s what it is and that’s what it is for me. And look, I think that my ambitions are being met by the circumstances I am in, so I will keep that going for as long as it will take me, until my back stops working. And this movie advanced that issue very, very much actually...