Pedro Pascal on Collaborating With Omar Apollo and Making Materialists With Celine Song

When Pedro Pascal shows up on my screen, he’s in his car, relaxed and bewhiskered, gloriously lit by the California sun, with a huge grin on his face.

“[I’m headed] to the beach!” he says, with audible glee. We’re on a Zoom call to talk about his turn as Corona’s new ambassador, in a new campaign titled La Vida Más Fina (The Finest Life). And quite fittingly, he’s living his best life, about to crack open a beer on the beach on a rare day off. “[I have] so much nostalgia and connection to the presence of Corona as a beer in my adult life,” he says, “whether it's a barbecue with friends or a day at the beach and everything in between.”

It’s a Monday but we’ll forgive the Internet’s Favorite Daddy the weekday indulgence—it’s a busy time for the actor. Over the last few years, Pascal has gone from strength to strength, top-billing streaming blockbusters like The Last of Us and The Mandalorian while also working on artsier fare like the gay cowboy romp Strange Way of Life with film legend Pedro Almodovar. The next few years will see him continue that hot streak, appearing in much-anticipated tentpole films like this year’s Ridley Scott’s Gladiator II and the recently-announced new Fantastic Four, as well as Ari Aster’s next A24 project, Eddington. Right now, he’s in production on Materialists, the much-awaited second film from Celine Song, the director of last year’s indie breakout Past Lives.

It’s always interesting when a star has their breakout later in their career, when they’ve lived enough life to know who they are— and what they’d like to do with a platform should they ever earn one. In the past, Pascal has made it a point to show his support for the LGBTQIA+ community, champion Latinx culture and in some situations, expressly demand to collaborate with POC talents. And true to form, Pascal’s Corona gig feels genuinely tailored to him and the things he stands for. Directed by Craig Gillespie, the filmmaker behind Lars and the Real Girl and Oscar-winning I, Tonya, the campaign is refreshingly bilingual, with Pascal given the opportunity to pay homage to his Latino roots by tipping his hat to singer Celia Cruz and even feature the popular Spanish idiom “Donde comen cuatro, comen seis. (Where four eat, six can eat.)”

“There is cultural significance as far as my Latino roots are concerned and my [own] understanding [of] being a Chilean growing up in the States and growing up bilingual,” Pascal says. “[That was] my experience with every Latino community that is represented in the United States—I lived in Texas as a child in San Antonio, lived in southern California and then went to New York at 18 and spent my adult life mostly there—always an English and Spanish-speaking life. I love the expansiveness of just working with a very accessible beer and doing a campaign on its behalf in both English and in Spanish.”

On a stopover on the way to the beach, Pascal talked to GQ about his friendship with Omar Apollo, why he wanted to work with Celine Song, missing out on a role on the HBO series Looking, and his idea of the finest life.

GQ: It feels like you've reached a blank-check moment in your career, where you're free to decide what to work on and who to throw your weight behind. You're currently working on Materialists with Celine Song; why did you decide to work with her?

PEDRO PASCAL: Past Lives is one of the best movies I've seen in years, number one. There's that simple answer. I met Celine and we became fast friends before the idea of ever working together. It really came down to it being, anything that she may or may not want me to do, I'd be willing to do it as an artist and as a friend. Working with that caliber of talent is the goal ultimately, and so I'm the lucky one for sure.

Speaking of talent, it was recently announced that you’re going to be featured on the new Omar Apollo album—which I thought was so cool and interesting since the only singing I've known you to do is the “Purple Rain” cover you did on the Wonder Woman 1984 promo tour.

Oh, my god. I didn't dare sing, there's no way I did sing.

You did.

No way.

You did!

Give me the receipts. [Laughs]

Okay, I’ll send it over. Can you tell us anything about the feature on the Omar album? Are you singing, rapping, speaking?

Omar is a really good… It's his birthday today!

Oh, I didn't know that. Amazing.

Send him a shout out. Omar is a very good friend of mine. I love his music. He's also like me, someone who grew up bilingual. He loves Corona, I've had Corona with him. [Laughs] And so I love being a friend in each other's journeys, and uplifting whatever I can creatively, supporting whatever creative experience that he's having as a friend, as an artist, as a Latino, as a Spanish speaker. It just means a lot to me. But anything else about his album before it comes out, you're going to have to ask him.

Okay, fair. What's your favorite Omar song?

It's on the new album, actually.

Ooh, okay. We're going to have to wait… On the subject of alcohol and Corona: The night of your Screen Actors Guild win [for male actor in a drama series, for The Last of Us], you said during your speech that you were “a little drunk.” What were you drinking?

I was having a little tequila and chasing it with a Corona. [Laughs] Yeah, it was definitely ... Oh, my gosh, that's so funny. Omar just texted me.

We summoned him.

Yeah, he's a witch, he can hear us… A good witch! [Laughs] Yeah, I had some tequila—which goes really well with a Corona chaser. And I wasn't that drunk! [Laughs]

You said you were! I didn't say you were.

I sobered up in the instant of winning. I think all the adrenaline pushed the sobriety into my system.

I actually think it made your speech more earnest and memorable. Anyway, one of the things I love about the Corona campaign is how you guys were able to bring in all of these touchstones from Latinx culture. Did you grow up listening to Celia Cruz?

I did listen to a lot of Celia Cruz. I love that they use her music in the ad campaign. There's so much to celebrating and basically getting yourself to a place that is one of being present and—speaking of being earnest— a celebration of life and the moment, really. And I'd be lying to say if there weren't ways of expressing that through a campaign like this and creating the same kinds of memories that have drawn me to working with Corona and becoming a part of this campaign and hopefully providing that memory. And also just a reminder to be in the moment, let go, have a drink, be with friends, and relax. It's good for all of us.

I also love how you guys were able to use that saying “Donde comen cuatro, comen seis (Where four eat, six can eat)” in the video. Very cool.

Doesn't it make you want to be with friends, be at the beach?

A hundred percent. By the way, I recently spoke with the amazing [casting director] Carmen Cuba...

Oh, wow! Oh, my gosh, a longtime friend. She cast me in Narcos.

Yes! I spoke to her for this oral history of the HBO show Looking that I was putting together. And she said that at one point, she was talking to you for a role.

Yeah, they didn't cast me. I tested for it. That would've been early 2013, and Narcos didn't happen until spring of 2014. Looking was already well underway, and it's a simple tale of something being yours or not in the process of casting, I just didn't get cast.

I always say rejection is redirection, rejection is protection. And it worked out in the end.

Yeah, whatever's meant to be.

Earlier, we were talking about “The Finest Life” or “La Vida Mas Fina” and how that's the tagline of this campaign. Obviously you're at this moment of so much success and just a lot of great things in your life, but what is your platonic ideal? What is your ideal life right now?

My ideal life right now is really that opportunity to be in the moment—and then the moment teaching you everything that you need to know. And remember that we're all in this together and there isn't anything more valuable than being in the present with the people that you love. Or at least the place that you love, which would be the beach for me. [Laughs]

What is the ideal day for you right now?

I don't want there to be any plans made, if that makes any sense. I just want to wake up and know that there's nothing specific on the agenda, and then really just be with friends and be on the beach. I'm a beach boy, what can I say? I love the water, it calms me down and it holds all of my fondest memories and is such a perfect way to remember to let go.

Originally Appeared on GQ