Film

Pedro Pascal talks Kingsman, Narcos and the goriest death on Game of Thrones

Spilling secrets about Kingsman's epic cast, the platform Narcos gives to Latin actors and what Game of Thrones fans want to do when they meet him

“I have secrets, do you want to hear them?”

It’s no secret that Pedro Pascal is one of the charismatic and enigmatic actors on the ascent, stealing every scene he is in, whether in Game of Thrones, Narcos or the new Kingsman film released this week, in which he stars alongside Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Julianne Moore, Colin Firth, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, and Elton John…

“Just a little cast,” Pascal says. “I was patient with them, I was able to share my knowledge and my experience so I think they learned a lot,” he ironically adds.

In Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Pascal plays Jack Daniels aka Agent Whiskey, and he explains that it was down to his other role as another agent, DEA agent Peña in Narcos that led to his casting.

“Matthew Vaughan saw the first season [of Narcos] – and Peña’s not marginal but he’s very much supporting in season one – and he got a little OCD on my character. That’s how I got the job. He put me through a very extensive casting process but it was Peña that he started shaping Agent Whiskey on.”

After two series of Narcos where Peña is part of a strong ensemble cast, he becomes the anchor of the show in the third, which premiered on Netflix earlier this month, taking over narration duties from Boyd Holbrook.

“It was arduous, lengthy in studio sessions working with producer Eric Newman and getting the right tone to make it accessible to people and not losing what is Peña,” Pascal says. Peña is not a talker, so it was an interesting thing to meet that challenge and not betray the character. This isn’t somebody who wants to tell you the story, he’s forced into it. I thought Boyd did a great job. He’s got a sexy voice, a southern twang. Obviously I couldn’t emulate that. I wish I could.”

The voices heard in Narcos is one of the elements Pascal is proudest of, for several reasons.

Pedro Pascal as Agent Peña in Narcos

“I think that the original intention of the show was that it would be that it would be in English – this kind of accented, arbitrary Latino accent,” he scoffs. “Then Netflix said no, Spanish speakers need to speak Spanish. There are episodes that are very dominated by the Spanish, it’s not just half and half, it’s three quarters in Spanish and an English narration to help outsiders along, of course.”

Pascal thinks that popularity of Narcos, which uses a largely Latino cast and crew, could be seen to mark a new phase in the globalisation of Latin culture.

“I can only hope,” he says. “Two of the greatest directors in the world are from Mexico. Two years in a row a Mexican won the Oscar for Best Director [Alejandro G. Iñárritu]. I can only hope that Narcos is introducing people to Latin talent.”

For the last few years, Pascal has been most recognised for his character Oberyn Martell enduring the most memorable – and gruesome – screen death in Game of Thrones. And let’s face it, there is plenty of competition for that title. To describe what happens would be a bit of a spoiler, suffice to say that when fans encounter Pascal on the street, “They all want to stick their thumbs in my eyes”.

He still follows the series now though.

“Without being stuck to source material makes it a better show,” he says. “George RR Martin is probably going to kick my ass…”

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is out now in cinemas. Narcos series 1-3 is available on Netflix

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