This week, Variety dropped another episode of Actors on Actors, and this time, it featured none other than Pedro Pascal and Steven Yeun — both of whom are known for their fun, chaotic energy (seriously, you should check out their photo shoot for the episode).
However, those who've watched the recent AoA episode — including myself — have been incredibly impressed by the raw honesty, authenticity, depth, vulnerability, and intelligence both Pedro and Steven brought to the conversation. Some have even called it the best episode yet.
Aside from Steven playing 12 straight hours of The Last of Us video game and Pedro's correct use of Bella Ramsey's pronouns (they/them), the pair talked about everything from their acting processes to their struggles and insecurities both as people and professional actors.
That being said, here are 17 insightful (and very human) things they revealed during their 40-minute convo:
1.Steven and Ali Wong didn't hang out much before or during the filming of Beef, despite knowing each other for years. But Steven said that a “more naïve, less experienced, younger version” of himself may have wanted to “force chemistry” by trying to hang out with his castmates during filming.
2.Pedro hasn’t watched the finale of The Last of Us (though he’s seen every episode up until that point) because he has an emotional attachment to the 12-month filming experience he hasn’t let go of.
3.Steven believes that playing a character in a post-apocalyptic world (e.g. The Walking Dead) afforded him the ability to break away from stereotypical tropes, particularly as an Asian American actor in 2010. “You see people for people at that point,” he said of dystopian societies.
4.Steven views acting as a “self-effacing” journey and pointed out that some actors could have easily gotten trapped or consumed by The Mandalorian as a faceless character — but Pedro was not only “selfless” enough to take on the role but also made the character a part of his acting journey.
5.Pedro called Steven’s “intelligent and astute” observational ability the reason why Steven’s acting is so “engaging and watchable” — especially in a series like Beef that's set in the real world (vs. a speculative universe) and explores the “danger within the averageness” of Danny’s life.
6.Speaking of Danny, Steven felt like Ben Stiller in Meet the Fockers during the filming of Beef because of how much their characters "get shit on." Nevertheless, he used his own shame to connect to Danny.
7.When first approaching his characters, Steven looks inward to find the parts of him that deeply understand them. For Danny, he looked for parts of himself that felt isolated, alone, cringe, and gross. “I’ve got to get dropped from a tree, and everybody’s just watching, and I look pathetic,” he said.
8.In fact, a younger version of Steven might have objected to being embarrassingly dropped from a tree in Beef because he used to think, both as an actor and human, “Why are things happening to me?” But after maturing, he now thinks, “Things are happening for me or through me.”
9.Steven recognized how much internal work went into Pedro’s performance as Joel in The Last of Us — to which Pedro acknowledged that it’s fun, as an actor, to be permitted to feel everything through characters. He also admitted that he’s envious of a role like Danny.
10.Steven described acting as a “study of yourself,” which made Pedro reflect on how lonely acting can be. He elaborated by saying how — despite potentially feeling overwhelmed on set by scheduling, lighting, or even social dynamics — acting, as a job, requires being vulnerable and collaborative while also maintaining focus to stay in character.
11.Pedro has also noticed that he now gets scared at times when he feels he’s not in character and can’t figure out why — whereas when he was younger, he had enough of an ego to give 100% to a role no matter how bad it was.
12.Subsequently, Pedro doesn’t like to watch himself on screen anymore because he’s taken out of the experience “in a weird way.” In fact, he enjoyed watching an episode of The Last of Us in which his character only appeared at the beginning of the episode.
13.He also pointed out how an actor has “to give it absolutely everything and then give it up completely” when filming because their performance can be edited in a way they have no control over.
14.Steven shared that some days, he walks onto set feeling bummed, but he can use those feelings for his performance.
15.Pedro believes it’s “smart to lean into the subconscious process” when acting because he otherwise tends to want to control the experience. And at the end of the day, he believes his responsibility as an actor is to figure out the most practical way to “fulfill the assignment.”
16.The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent pulled Pedro “out of a very isolated place” because it was the first job he got during the pandemic and enabled him to be around people again.
17.Lastly, Pedro feels he relates to Steven because they both immigrated to the US as young children and grew up in bilingual households — something that has informed their behaviors in ways they can’t fully comprehend.
Toward the end of their conversation, Pedro mentioned he needs to talk to Steven after the episode because he has more questions ("Steven, how do I deal with this?" he joked). So, Variety, maybe bring them back for a part two?
Watch the entire Actors on Actors episode here and let us know what you think in the comments below!