“Kin” was directed by Bosnian filmmaker Jasmila Žbanić, herself no stranger to telling powerful stories about calamitous events from the perspectives of everyday ordinary people. Perhaps most notably, her acclaimed 2020 war drama “Quo Vadis, Aida?” dramatizes the Srebrenica massacre through the eyes of the eponymous schoolteacher. “We were very lucky because we had the opportunity to have rehearsals before we were on the set,” said Žbanić, speaking to Variety about her work on “The Last of Us.” She confirmed all those shots in the episode of cast members’ visible breath weren’t faked, either. “The set was quite difficult because of the cold weather. Sometimes it was even -15 degrees Celsius, so very, very cold,” she explained.
Žbanić added that Pedro Pascal also did his part to help his co-stars get into character, specifically during Joel’s confession to Tommy. After Pascal and Gabriel Luna did a few readings and made a few suggestions, Žbanić said she filmed Luna’s reactions first. As she did, “Pedro was crying,” she recalled. He continued to do so after that, even when the camera wasn’t on him:
“He was not on camera, but he was crying because he was giving his partner everything so that he can act. This is very special. It’s so generous of an actor to do this so deep. I was amazed by Pedro’s talent.”
Needless to say, Pascal didn’t have to do that, but it’s a testament to his craft and a meaningful show of respect for Luna that he did. One suspects this isn’t the first time Pascal has gone above and beyond to assist his co-workers like this, either, and this specific moment is all the more impactful for it. There’s a reason he’s everyone’s favorite onscreen dad.
“The Last of Us” airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO and HBO Max.