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Sarah Paulson was a Pedro Pascal fan decades before the rest of the world caught up. Paulson recently reflected on their longtime friendship in Pascal’s cover story for the April/May 2023 issue of Esquire. She also shared anecdotes about their early days in Hollywood: notably, Paulson gave Pascal her acting per diem in order to help the struggling actor feed himself in the early 2000s.
Pascal met Paulson in 1993 during his time attending NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in New York City. Paulson said, “We would go to see movies all the time in those years, and we would get so lost in them. You can fill in the blanks about the why of that however you like, but I think there were things we wanted to escape mentally, emotionally, spiritually.”
“You just want him to succeed.”
After graduating college in 1997, Pascal moved to Los Angeles, where he tried his hand at TV work on shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Touched by an Angel.” The work was not enough to keep him financially stable, however, and he moved back to New York in 2000. Struggling to pay rent and put food on the table, Pascal relied on Paulson’s kindness to keep him afloat.
“He’s talked about this publicly, but there were times when I would give him my per diem from a job I was working on so that he could have money to feed himself,” she said. As the failed auditions mounted, Pascal worried that his big acting break would never come. “I died so many deaths,” he told Esquire. “My vision of it was that if I didn’t have some major exposure by the time I was 29 years old, it was over, so I was constantly readjusting what it meant to commit my life to this profession, and giving up the idea of it looking like I thought it would when I was a kid. There were so many good reasons to let that delusion go.”
Though Pascal’s path to stardom has been complicated, the support — both financial and emotional — of friends like Paulson ultimately helped him to become an award-winning actor (and one of the internet’s biggest celebrity crushes). Pascal’s recent standout roles include the title character in Disney+’s “The Mandalorian,” and Joel in “The Last of Us” alongside Bella Ramsey.
Now, 30 years after their chance encounter in New York, Paulson is overjoyed that “everybody wants a piece of him.” In fact, Paulson is championing a new era in film with Pascal at the lead. “You just want him to succeed,” she said. “And that to me, I feel like, is the sign of a major movie star. I’m ready for him to take the reins from the guys from romantic comedies past, like Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson and all these guys. He can be all that. Let’s remake ‘Die Hard’ with Pedro. Remake all the ‘Lethal Weapon’ movies with Pedro.”