Emmy Contender Pedro Pascal on ‘Narcos’: Netflix ‘Isn’t Movies, It’s the Next Thing’

Actor tells TheWrap Emmy Magazine about his role hunting Pablo Escobar in Netflix’s “Narcos”

Pedro Pascal narcos

A version of this story first appeared in the print edition of TheWrap Magazine’s The Race Begins Emmy Issue.

Pedro Pascal became a minor cult hero playing a high schooler memorably slain by TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and a bigger hero on the ultimate cult show “Game of Thrones” — a role he got after his old friend Sarah Paulson showed his iPhone audition piece to her pal Amanda Peet, who showed it to her husband, “GoT” co-auteur David Benioff, who cast Pascal as the talkative but deadly Red Viper, a standout role before his head was unceremoniously crushed like a melon.

His role on “Narcos” is a less-chatty type: real-life DEA agent Javier Peña, who helped catch cocaine lord Pablo Escobar. “The role is a deeper dive than I’ve had before,” said Pascal, “with a commitment to authenticity.” Pascal, 41, studied at Quantico with Peña, and did a buy-and-bust exercise in which he outwitted an ambush by real feds.

“Javier is a mystery man, even though he’s also easy to hang out with — I can see how he got close to people.”

Pascal embraces the mysterious side of his character, whom he described as “a paradox, unpredictable, existing in a gray area. Javier sleeps with a prostitute who also sleeps with a bad guy, but he has real feelings for her, and he feels the moral compromise is justified to catch Pablo.”

And the actor loves being on the cutting edge of the media landscape. “It’s Netflix, man!” he said. “It isn’t TV, it isn’t movies, it’s the next thing.”

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