Pedro Pascal On His Big ‘Game Of Thrones’ Debut

“Game of Thrones” introduced a sexy and dangerous new addition to King’s Landing in the HBO show’s Season 4 premiere – Prince Oberyn Martell (aka The Red Viper) – played by Pedro Pascal.

Pedro’s Prince Oberyn created a stir in his “GoT” debut as he turned up in the Westeros capitol, choosing from women in a brothel (with help from his lover, Ellaria Sand), and inviting a young man to join their festivities. He showed off his dark side when he pinned a Lannister soldier’s wrist into a table with his dagger. And then, he revealed his fearlessness when he lifted Tyrion Lannister’s (Peter DInklage) chin and told him why he is really in town — and it has nothing to do with the royal wedding.

Pedro spoke with about joining the franchise and his big, big debut.

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Pedro Pascal: I did. It was evident in the character description.

Access: Were you excited that you were playing one of the sexiest characters to come to Westeros?
Pedro: I was really excited and a little intimidated, and then excited and then intimidated…

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Access: Let’s break those two down – what excited you about it?
Pedro: It was exciting because—

Access: You get to have swagger?
Pedro: You get to have swag, you get to enter a room with confidence, sort of like own every space that you’re a part and to play somebody who enjoys life to that degree — because I think his sexiness is just attached to the fact that he plays by his own rules, so if in the middle of a work day somebody sexy comes along and he wants to do something about it, he will do something about it.

Access: What intimidated you about it?
Pedro: Everything that I just described, so it was a completely dual experience.

Access: Your first scene is a brothel scene. How do you make that easier on yourself? Or do you just forget about it, everyone’s cool, the heater’s on…
Pedro: The heater was definitely not on. There was no heat. It was actually kind of cold. We were shooting in some location a few miles outside of Belfast. It was a former castle actually, and it’s where they shoot the brothel scenes and you just jump in.

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Access: Castles are not warm at all.
Pedro: Yeah, it wasn’t warm at all. And anything that would produce warmth would also produce noise, so that all had to be off, but you just jump in, you know? You have to like, not give yourself the opportunity to overthink it because if you do, the whole day can turn into such an uphill battle because you’ve got work to do and you’re being your own worst enemy if you start to analyze the things that are kind of scary. … You take the opportunity to just sort of exist in the skin of something this delicious. And they write such good material and that does 90 percent of the work.

Access: Is he just a glutton? He likes boys and girls. Is he just open to everything and loves to indulge and doesn’t have any boundaries?
Pedro: He certainly has the capacity to become a glutton because he is all about pleasures, but some of his pleasures, it’s all in loving, in sex, in fighting, but there are also very specific disciplines to him that are also uncompromising in terms of… the partner that he is to Ellaria Sand, the loyalty he has to his family, to the memory of his sister, so I think that, rather than being sort of indulgent, he just lives like — he just sucks the marrow out of life.

Access: The coolest scene you get in the first episode is when you get to tell Tyrion why you’re there. How much fun was that? Such a badass moment for the show.
It was really exciting because we were shooting that in the center of the old town in Dubrovnik. The location is like 100 percent real and it was in the middle of the day and Peter can make it really easy for an actor because of how generous he is as a scene partner, so the story is that I am arriving and I am not hiding the fact that I’m here for revenge and I can look him directly in the eye, I can use my finger to prop his chin up to make eye contact with me, and Peter, as an actor, allows the story to be told to its best potential. So it was really exciting and it’s indescribably exciting to be able to work with Peter on material like that and to play with him and to be given the invitation to do just that.

“Game of Thrones” Season 4 airs Sunday nights at 9 PM ET/PT on HBO.

-- Jolie Lash

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