I hate to sexualize a beautiful conversation between two actors about the intricacies of their craft, but…just kidding. That’s my favorite thing. And the latest installment of Variety’s Actors on Actors series provided the perfect opportunity: Pedro Pascal discussing his role in The Last of Us with Beef’s Steven Yeun. While the interview includes some very insightful commentary on the experience of inhabiting a new character, I, personally, was distracted by my burning desire to ship these men.
While most of this interview doesn’t read as explicitly sexual, when crafted into a narrative—which I shall now, drawing lines from one sexy Easter egg to another—the effect is overwhelmingly smutty. And given Jennifer Coolidge and Jeremy Allen White’s Actors on Actors interview, I am even beginning to think this series is in fact designed for scintillation.
The interview begins with the men fawning over each other, as they discuss their spiritual connection as actors (one I hope they explore further). “You fall into your characters in a way that I think is so gracious,” Yeun tells Pascal. He responds:
PASCAL: It’s a very interesting word choice. Because, especially when you mentioned The Walking Dead, I remember noticing you and being like…This is going to sound really obnoxious.
YEUN: I’ll take it. I’ll take all of it.
PASCAL: I was like, “That guy’s a star.” So I’ve been drinking it in thereafter.
I must also note at this point, in the article’s accompanying photos, Yeun is perched playfully on top of a bent over Pascal, while in another image, Pascal nuzzles his head onto Yeun’s shoulder. Pascal is in a Canadian tuxedo. Variety is begging us to ship them, and I, as a reader, am “drinking it in” and begging them to kiss.
Then, Yeun wonders to Pascal, “Who among us is brave enough, and also—I don’t want to gas you up too much—selfless enough [to play roles like you do]? ‘I’m going to enter this character that might not have my face be seen,’ and then still land it in a way that it doesn’t trap you. These characters are part of your journey, as opposed to eating you.”
Are you picking up what I’m putting down?
To me, the sexiest part of this interview comes when the two discuss, inexplicably, a recent road rage incident Pascal had been in.
PASCAL: ...they’ve all been my fault. I cut somebody off, and I look over, and there’s a big glob of saliva—like visual effects put it there, man—just dripping down the side of the passenger window. And my sister was like, “Fuck!”
YEUN: Holy shit. Like a glob from the driver’s side? He just hocked a hard loogie at you?
PASCAL: He spit at me.
YEUN: What did you do?
PASCAL: I was in shock. It didn’t trigger any rage out of me. It absolutely humbled me and shocked me, scared me a little bit, disturbed me.
YEUN: I wonder if your consciousness about not reacting to that negatively is you recognizing that person’s trying to connect with you in some way.
PASCAL: They want me to drink in their saliva…
That last sentence? We’re no longer in undertones territory, ladies and gents. Sure, we’re discussing rush hour traffic, but we’ve passed subtext and entered into the realm of explicit imagery: Saliva is dripping. Immediately after, Pascal discusses fully throwing himself into a scene, describing it as a “journey” that requires “out-of-the-ass, out-of-the-mouth, out-of-the-mind, out-of-the-heart submission.”
I...am out of breath. Pedro and Steven, I feel very strongly that you know that you are baiting us. And I’m really not mad about it.