If there's a unique Hollywood success story, it's Pedro Pascal. Following his break playing the charismatic Oberyn Martell on Game of Thrones, creator, director, and executive producer Jon Favreau sought him to play his lead in his series The Mandalorian, which ironically hides one of his most distinctive features, his own face. Variety spoke to the actor and others who worked with him on his recent projects. "[Pedro] feels very much like a classic movie star in his charm and his delivery," Favreau said. "And he's somebody who takes his craft very seriously." The director recalled bringing in Pascal and pitching him the role, which required him to hide his face the bulk of the series. "When he walked in, it must have felt a little surreal," he continued. "You know, most of your experiences as an actor, people are kicking the tires to see if it's a good fit. But in this case, everything was locked and loaded."
Suffice it to say, Pascal knew a hit when he saw one. "I hope this doesn't sound like me fashioning myself like I'm, you know, so smart, but I agreed to do this [show] because the impression I had when I had my first meeting was that this is the next big s***," he said with a laugh. Shooting the first season with your main character completely covered did have its advantages as stunt performers Brendan Wayne and Lateef Crowder acted as his stand-ins Pascal shot his other projects like Warner Bros' Wonder Woman 1984 and performed a Broadway run of "King Lear" scheduled during production. Pascal dubbed his dialogue in post-production.
"If there were more than just a couple of pages of a one-on-one scene, I did feel uneasy about not, in some instances, being able to totally author that," Pascal said. "But it was so easy in such a sort of practical and unexciting way for it to be up to them. When you're dealing with a franchise as large as this, you are such a passenger to however they're going to carve it out. It's just so specific. It's Star Wars.". The actor admits he's on set more during the filming of season two, but still let the stunt performers do the more arduous tasks. The success of The Mandalorian can't be understated as it helped lead in part to the 26.5 million subscribers within the first six weeks following the launch of the streamer Disney+. Upon realizing the irony that Pascal's the "face" of the franchise despite donning a helmet for most of it, attention shifted to his co-star in The Child, which fans online already embraced calling "Baby Yoda" before Disney announced its official name. "Literally, my eyes following left to right, up and down, and, boom, Baby Yoda close to the end of the first episode," he recalled from the pitch. "That was when I was like, 'Oh, yep, that's a winner!'"
Favreau realized early as The Mandalorian was filming, the key to the series' success is to establishing Din and The Child's bond. "[Pedro]'s tracking the arc of that relationship," he said. "His insight has made us rethink moments over the course of the show." Even if audiences couldn't see Din's facial expressions, Pascal made the most of getting into the character's head. "The transience is something that I'm incredibly familiar with, you know?" he said. "Understanding the opportunity for complexity under all of the armor was not hard for me." Pascal will also be filming Tropico and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. To read more on his life including comments from Wonder Woman 1984 director Patty Jenkins and Game of Thrones co-creator David Benioff, you can check the rest on Variety. The Mandalorian season two premieres October 30 on Disney+.