Pedro Pascal recounts his family’s ‘unbelievable’ story about fleeing Chile

Pedro Pascal wears a white undershirt with a green knit sweater while posing for a photo at a red carpet event.
Pedro Pascal recently retold the story of his family’s journey from Chile to the United States on the “Smartless” podcast.
(Jordan Strauss / Invision / Associated Press)

Pedro Pascal has played brave and dashing fighters such as Joel Miller, Baby Yoda’s dad and Oberyn Martell, but perhaps the most impressive and painful narrative he’s been part of is his family’s real-life migration story from Chile to the U.S.

In an appearance on the “SmartLess” podcast this week, the “Last of Us” and “The Mandalorian actor gave a thorough account of how he and his family were required to flee the dictatorship of former Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet in the 1970s.

“My parents, they were just very young when they had my sister and myself,” Pascal said. “ I wouldn’t say my parents were revolutionaries by any stretch of the imagination, but they were young, liberal college students.”


And while not active dissidents, Pascal’s mother had familial ties to those involved in the opposition movement to Pinochet’s military rule.

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The “Narcosstar’s family found itself in trouble after a gunshot victim was delivered to Pascal’s home so that his father, who was a resident at a local hospital in Santiago, could provide him with medical care. His parents also provided shelter for the victim as he went into hiding.

In an unfortunate turn of events, the person who took the gunshot victim to Pascal’s home was “taken into custody and tortured and gave names.” Then, authorities came looking for Pascal’s parents.

“So then my parents had to go into hiding for about six months,” Pascal said.

A plan was then devised and executed “like some sort of political thriller from the early ‘80s” in which Pascal, who was less than a year old, and his family sneaked their way into the Venezuelan embassy in Santiago and demanded asylum by climbing over a wall during a moment when guards weren’t on duty.

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The family was given asylum in Denmark, then ended up in San Antonio and finally in Orange County.

When asked by podcast hosts Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Sean Hayes if he ever planned to adapt his family’s “unbelievable” story into any form of art, Pascal simply said, “No.”


The “Game of Thrones” actor went on to talk about watching the 1982 film “Missing,” which was based on the disappearance of an American journalist in Pinochet’s Chile and was banned throughout the dictator’s reign. Pascal, 48, touched on the impact Costa-Gavras’ movie had on him when he saw it as a child.

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“It had such an imprint in my brain because of how closely I could relate it to my parents’ experience,” he said. “My mom was little and beautiful like [‘Missing’ star] Sissy Spacek ... I think about this, now in my middle age, how strange it is to get information in that way through cinema and relate it to an immediate experience of my parents that they are [at the time] sharing with me ... we just didn’t talk about it.”

In a 2017 interview with The Times, Pascal spoke about what it was like growing up in the U.S. with political exile parents.

“They were very strong progressive leftists,” he said. “If you brought something home from a Texas public school system that was not right, some bad talk about Russia or people of color, that was nipped in the bud really, really fast. My parents loved the U.S.”

Pascal previously remarked on his family’s harrowing journey and thanked them for deciding to emigrate during his “Saturday Night Live” monologue back in February.

“My parents fled and brought me and my sister to the U.S.,” he said. “They were so brave and without them I wouldn’t be here in this wonderful country and I certainly wouldn’t be standing [on the ‘SNL’ stage] tonight.”