More than six years after it happened, the famous duel between The Mountain and Oberyn Martell remains one of the most shocking moments in TV history – and one of the standout moments from Game of Thrones‘ eight series run.
A large part of what made the scene so memorable is how popular Oberyn had been – in no small part due to Pedro Pascal’s performance in the role – and showrunner David Benioff has now explained why The Mandalorian star was the perfect actor for the part.
Speaking to Variety, Benioff said, “He figures out who the character really is and then he portrays that man, scouring off all falsehood. Plus, he’s really f***ing handsome.”
Benioff explained that the character was a difficult one to cast, given how much charisma and swagger was required for the role, while he also had to be someone that audiences would believe as a killer.
And he said that although the video quality on Pascal’s audition wasn’t great, he was sold on the actor’s performance from the get-go.
“It was an iPhone selfie audition, which was unusual,” he said. “And this wasn’t one of the new-fangled iPhones with the fancy cameras. It looked like s***; it was shot vertical; the whole thing was very amateurish. Except for the performance, which was intense and believable and just right.”
He added, “Once we saw the entire season there was no doubt Pedro was going to be a star. I thought he deserved more recognition, frankly. Was he nominated for any awards? He should have been. But Dan and I were thrilled that we gave Pedro a job that helped his ascent, because he’s an absolute gem of an actor and a man.”
Of course, since his short-lived Game of Thrones stint, Pascal has gone on to achieve more success, first on popular Netflix drama Narcos and more recently as the title character on Disney Plus Star Wars series The Mandalorian.
He will return for the second outing of the smash-hit series later this month, once again accompanied by The Child – aka Baby Yoda.