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“Because we are Latinos”: Before Finding Global Success With The Last of Us, Pedro Pascal Fought Hollywood Racism To Not Get Stereotyped into Doing Gangster Roles

"Because we are Latinos": Before Finding Global Success With The Last of Us, Pedro Pascal Fought Hollywood Racism To Not Get Stereotyped into Doing Gangster Roles

Pedro Pascal, known for his role in the hit series The Last of Us, faced challenges in the entertainment industry not just as a Latin-American actor but also due to his name. Born José Pedro Balmaceda in Santiago, Chile, he changed his last name to Pascal in tribute to his mother.

Despite considering changing his first name to Alexander in hopes of landing more auditions, he eventually returned to his birth name. The journey of finding his identity in Hollywood was just one of many obstacles Pascal faced on his path to success.

Pedro Pascal
Pedro Pascal

Breaking the Stereotype: Pedro Pascal’s Journey to Hollywood Success

As a Latin-American actor in Hollywood, Pedro Pascal faced the struggle of being forced into stereotypical roles and the frustration that came with it.

Breaking into Hollywood was a tough journey for Pedro Pascal, who, like many other Latin-American actors, faced challenges due to the lack of diversity in the industry. This often left actors of color with limited options and opportunities, leading to a cycle of playing the same gangster roles over and over again.

Pedro Pascal in Mandalorian
Pedro Pascal in Mandalorian

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However, he found comfort and solidarity in his experience with fellow actor, Oscar Isaac, who shared similar challenges in the industry. The two actors met on the set of the off-Broadway play, Beauty of the Father, where they both played natives of Spain. He too told Variety about his dismay on getting the same roles,

“It’s gotten better, but at that point, it was so easy to be pigeonholed in very specific roles because we’re Latinos. It’s like, how many gang member roles am I going to be sent?” 

Pedro Pascal and Oscar Isaac
Pedro Pascal and Oscar Isaac

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The play provided an opportunity for the two actors to bond over their struggles and strive to break out of the limited roles they were being offered.

From Balmaceda to Pascal: The Journey of Pedro Pascal’s Name Change

Pedro Pascal was born José Pedro Balmaceda in Santiago, Chile and moved to the United States at a young age. After his mother passed away, he changed his last name from Balmaceda to Pascal as a tribute to her.

The change was also welcomed as many Americans found it difficult to pronounce Balmaceda. In his pursuit of acting, Pascal considered changing his first name to Alexander in memory of the film Fanny and Alexander. He hoped that the name change would help him get more auditions, but unfortunately it did not have the desired effect and he eventually changed his name back to Pedro. He told the outlet,

“I was willing to do absolutely anything to work more and that meant if people felt confused by who they were looking at in the casting room because his first name was Pedro, then I’ll change that. It didn’t work.”

Pedro Pascal as Joel in the last of us
Pedro Pascal as Joel in the last of us

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Despite these challenges, Pascal was driven to do anything to work more and break out of the stereotype. He was determined to succeed and prove that he was capable of much more than just being cast in stereotypical roles.The impact of his performance on his career and standing in Hollywood was significant, solidifying him as a versatile actor capable of taking on diverse roles.

The importance of representation and breaking down barriers in the industry cannot be overstated, and Pascal’s success with The Last of Us was a step in the right direction towards a more inclusive Hollywood. Through hard work and determination, he was eventually able to overcome the Hollywood racism and make a name for himself as a versatile and talented actor.


Source: Showbiz Cheatsheet

Written by Minhaz Ahamed

Minhaz is a writer who delves into the complexities of the human experience through his writings, with a focus on cinema, psychology, and philosophy. He finds solace in writing and uses it as a means of exploring and understanding the world.