Sometimes you get really excited or nervous and have trouble sleeping. So you take a sleeping aid to help you get some shuteye. I do it all the time, as my brain never lets me sleep peacefully. But after Pedro Pascal took his Ambien, he received a call confirming he got the job and would play Joel in The Last of Us on HBO, though he didn’t really recall any of that the next morning.
Based on the award-winning and popular Last of Us games, HBO’s Last of Us TV show is a bona fide hit. The live-action adaptation is so popular that even Saturday Night Live is getting in on the action, a clear sign that something has truly broken into the mainstream. And while nearly every episode and actor has received critical praise, Pedro Pascal’s performance as Joel is one of the best bits of the series. It’s almost hard to see anyone else playing Joel in live-action, which makes it so much funnier that Pascal didn’t even remember getting the role!
In an interview on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Pascal explained that, during the casting process, when he got the scripts, he was in London and the rest of the production crew and producers on The Last of Us show were in Los Angeles. After reading the scripts and talking to series creator Craig Mazin, things were going well. And he was then asked to stay up so he could talk to Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckman. Apparently, that conversation went well too, with Pascal saying they “fell in love, too.” But the time difference between London and L.A. was causing some problems.
“At that point, it’s really late, and I’ve got to get up in the morning,” said Pascal. “I take an Ambien to go to sleep, just in case—because they’ve got my adrenaline going and my hopes up.”
After taking the Ambien and presumably falling asleep, Pascal received a call from the Last of Us team telling the Star Wars Mandalorian star that he got the gig. However, he was so out of it due to the sleeping pill that he basically didn’t remember any of that the following day.
“I was excited, I guess, but I didn’t remember,” admitted Pascal. “I woke up in the morning, and the first thing that occurred to me was like, ‘Oh man, I really want that job,’” Pascal said.
He then became worried, because of the time difference, that he would have to wait all day for a response from the producers. He dreaded this extended wait and worried it would distract him all day. Then he checked his text messages and saw everyone congratulating him and realized that he didn’t need to worry.
“Oh yeah, I got the job!” is what Pascal claims to have shouted when seeing the texts and finally recalling the memories of the night before, through the haze of Ambien. You see kids, big-time stars like Pedro Pascal are just like us. They get nervous about new jobs and get fucked up on sleeping pills, too.
The Last of Us is currently airing on HBO and HBO Max every Sunday. And Pascal’s other big show, The Mandalorian, returns to Disney+ for its long-awaited third season on March 1.