“The Mandalorian” star Pedro Pascal says that during a fundraiser he hosted a few years ago, two men tied him up and stole his credit cards. Now he’s urging people not to be victims of the same crime, as he told a group of students at Frederick Douglass High School Friday.
Pascal, who is also a star of the show “Game of Thrones,” also spoke with The Washington Post’s Sherman Alexie about his role in “The Mandalorian,” and how his role in the show reflects new racial tensions.
The first footage of the new “Star Wars” TV show, “The Mandalorian,” was shown this week during The Star Wars Celebration in Orlando. The 60-second trailer shows a horse-drawn carriage in a desert landscape of five people, all of whom are barely recognizable from their costumes.
The trailer is also set in the year 2022, when Pablo Hidalgo, played by Rick Jones (Pascal), is a member of the New Republic, led by Luke Skywalker’s uncle.
“My character is a war hero of sorts,” said Pascal, who grew up in Washington, D.C. “His storyline is an exploration of what comes after the empire falls.”
Pascal, who portrayed Oberyn Martell on “Game of Thrones,” said that he hopes the show depicts a diverse world, “where men and women of all races are free to play who they are, and no one is stereotyped or judged on the basis of a group’s differences.”
Hidalgo is seen in the trailer riding on horseback, and on Friday, Pascal told students at a school assembly that he has another connection to D.C. He lived in Capitol Hill in 2006, and was a frequent visitor to the Petworth neighborhood.
When students asked about his immigrant father, Pascal explained that his father is a chef and that his mother is a homemaker, but that the family moved when he was young. He said that his parents came from Ecuador and that they were not from “bad people,” but that his father left his career after the restaurant they were running closed, and went to work as a hotel cook.
With the economic downturn in Ecuador, his parents “didn’t have the same level of jobs or, therefore, weren’t able to come back,” he said.
“We come from very, very, very poor circumstances, and so that’s why I understand a lot about, I think, what life is like for so many of our young people here in our country. We have a very public and corrupting shame in our society, and that has to be stopped.”
Alexie, the author of “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” asked Pascal what people should know about immigrants, and whether he believes people can be racist.
Pascal said immigrants are living in difficult situations, trying to survive in harsh conditions. He said he “was in the same situation myself as a kid” at “a time where if I told people what I really did, my family would probably kill me.”
“So it makes me feel what they’re going through,” he said. “That’s why I do an awareness campaign called #RespectImmigrants. Because not only do we have to respect them, we have to protect them, too.”
In 2009, a drug-fueled robbery took place at a home Pascal and his husband previously lived in. The next day, there was a disturbance in the area. Later, a woman came to Pascal’s brother’s door and told him to call 911, saying that two black men had broken into the home, trying to steal electronics.
The woman was combative at the time of the call and “reacted like she was hit by an auto or something,” Pascal recalled. When the officers arrived, she was cooperative and police found nothing at the crime scene. She told them her boyfriend was at home, and he had no idea what had happened. He was taken in for questioning and released that evening.
Pascal said the robbery was a terrifying moment. He says he learned from that experience to be more concerned with how people treat each other, rather than racial stereotypes.
“When I was growing up, it was a time when I felt a lot of racism. It didn’t just happen once,