A Conversation
Hollywood 2024 Issue

Pedro Pascal Took All Our Questions—While Laid Up After Surgery

The best time to ask the Last of Us star anything? When he can’t run away.
Pedro Pascal and Colman Domingo laughing behind the scenes of Vanity Fairs 2024 Hollywood Portfolio shoot. Pedro Pascals...
Photograph by Landon Nordeman; styled by George Cortina.

Pedro Pascal has had quite the year (or two) taking star turns across film and TV screens—not to mention recently setting the internet ablaze after he appeared at the Golden Globes with a mysterious arm injury. Here, our 2024 Hollywood Issue cover star reflects on “king” Pedro Almodóvar, his friendship with Willem Dafoe, and his favorite movie of the year that he didn’t appear in.


Vanity Fair: Before you worked with Pedro Almodóvar on Strange Way of Life, which of his films defined what you loved about him as a director? Which of his films first grabbed you? What did it mean to you to finally work with him? And did working with him deepen your appreciation of his filmmaking? How?

Pedro Pascal: The first movie of Pedro’s I saw in the theater was Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. I haven’t missed anything since. I think his movies are effortlessly dangerous—in color, in story, in performance, in their sense of humor and drama.

Meeting him was two things. It was like meeting a king and a family member. He was easy to relate to and easy to worship. He could put you at ease and keep you on your toes. I miss and think of him every day.

Photograph by Landon Nordeman; styled by George Cortina.

You’re in the forthcoming Gladiator 2. Can you recount a scene you enjoyed making and how it might have challenged you as an actor?

I’ve been a part of big sets where the identity of the project, in a sense, is its size—and still, I have not been on a set as impressive as Gladiator’s. [Director] Ridley [Scott] leaves very little to the imagination in the most old-fashioned sense. All the players and pieces are there on the day, and suddenly the expected challenge of believing yourself as a powerful person in the era of the Roman Empire is evaporated.

Do you have any personal or unusual on-set rituals or practices when preparing for a role? How do you feel about Method acting?

I’m always confused by the way “Method acting” is termed. I think everyone has a method, and I admire, even envy, those that have more rigorous ones. It’s always important to read a room, but sometimes disrupting the room can help achieve something that serves the work. Anything under the conditions of decency works for me, and I always want to learn something new.

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In the age of streaming movies, Barbie and Oppenheimer reminded us why the movie-theater experience is still vital. Did you have a favorite theater experience in the last year? Where did you go, and what did you see? Describe how it made you feel.

I saw a lot I loved in the theater this year—Past Lives being a favorite. It’s easy to identify the movie as relatable when it comes to visiting love from your past, but I felt it was more than that. What struck me to the core is the idea of leaving something behind to become the person you want to be and discovering the person you never had a chance to say goodbye to is yourself.

Which role has meant the most to you so far in your career, emotionally or creatively? Which role did you feel you brought all of your resources to as an actor? Maybe those are two different roles?

The role that changed my life was in Game of Thrones. I will always credit its creators for taking a chance on someone who had nothing but unknown theater credits and episodic television on their résumé. I still awe at the opportunity that was handed to me by David Benioff, Dan Weiss, and Carolyn Strauss. Without Thrones, I would not have had Narcos, The Mandalorian, or The Last of Us.

How did you become friends with Willem DaFoe? Has he taught you anything about the craft or philosophy of acting that you absorbed or carry with you now?

Willem and I worked together on the movie The Great Wall in China. We had a mutual love for our director, Zhang Yimou, and Willem had authored some of the most memorable performances that made huge impressions on my development as an actor. I find him endlessly curious and open, but mostly caring and funny. I can talk to him about anything.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. For fashion and beauty details, go to VF.com/credits.