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Nico Parker on “Last of Us” Costar and 'Best Friend' Pedro Pascal: 'He Rules the World' (Exclusive)

Parker, who played Pascal's daughter in 'The Last of Us', says of her costar: "I really feel like I needed him in my life at the time that he walked into it. We just kind of latched onto each other"

<p>Amanda Edwards/Getty;Dave Benett/Getty </p> (Left to right:) Nico Parker in 2023, Pedro Pascal in 2024

Amanda Edwards/Getty;Dave Benett/Getty

(Left to right:) Nico Parker in 2023, Pedro Pascal in 2024

Nico Parker lights up when talking about her “wonderful” The Last of Us costar Pedro Pascal.

“I always feel when I say this, people don't believe me because he has so many best friends — but I really think he is one of my best friends,” jokes the British actress, 19, who played Sarah Miller, daughter to Pascal’s Joel, in the 2023 hit drama’s premiere episode.

After meeting Pascal, 48, during filming, Parker remembers the instant connection they formed.

“We got on so quickly,” she says. “He's so lovable that anyone could get on with him anytime… he’s just the best.”

She adds that she and Pascal “speak all the time” these days. “I really feel like I needed him in my life at the time that he walked into it. We just kind of latched onto each other.”

<p>Amy Sussman/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty </p> (Left to right:) Lamar Johnson, Jeffrey Pierce, Storm Reid, Nico Parker, Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, Merle Dandridge and Gabriel Luna at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Last of Us" in 2023

Amy Sussman/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty

(Left to right:) Lamar Johnson, Jeffrey Pierce, Storm Reid, Nico Parker, Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, Merle Dandridge and Gabriel Luna at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Last of Us" in 2023

Related: Nick Offerman Wins His First Emmy for The Last of Us: 'Fortune Presents Gifts Not According to the Book'

The Last of Us was adapted from the hit video game of the same name. The HBO drama earned critical acclaim and a whopping 24 Primetime Emmy nominations, winning eight.

Pascal’s performance as the survivalist Joel, tasked with protecting the young Ellie (Bella Ramsey) in a world overrun by fungal-infected zombie-like creatures, also earned him nominations at the Emmys, Golden Globes, SAG Awards and People’s Choice Awards.

Critics and fans alike have also been moved by Parker and Pascal’s powerful, albeit brief, work together in the series.

“Watching it, I was so happy that people felt like [our dynamic] translated on screen, because I do love him so much, and he's so brilliant and so talented and so many people adore him — as they should," Parker says of her onscreen dad. “I just love him. There's no one more charming and charismatic than him, no one.”

She adds with a laugh: “What a privilege that we get to be alive in a time where he rules the world!”

Liane Hentscher/HBO Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in "The Last of Us"
Liane Hentscher/HBO Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in "The Last of Us"

Related: Thandiwe Newton's Lookalike Daughter Nico Parker Walks Red Carpet with Dad at 'Last of Us' Premiere

Parker, the daughter of actress Thandiwe Newton and director-producer Ol Parker, now leads a project of her own with 2024 Sundance Film Festival award winner Suncoast (in theaters now and streaming on Hulu on Friday).

The film tells the story of a teenage girl whose brother is in a Florida hospice center — at the same time as Terri Schiavo’s final days. Writer-director Laura Chinn’s coming-of-age drama costars Laura Linney as her character’s mother and Woody Harrelson as a protester who helps her grieve. 

“She gets to be happy and she gets to be sad and she gets to be all kinds of different things,” Parker says of Suncoast’s Doris, her first major leading role following Tim Burton’s live-action Dumbo in 2019, the Newton-starring Reminiscence in 2021 and The Last of Us.

<p>Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures</p> Laura Linney and Nico Parker in "Suncoast"

Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

Laura Linney and Nico Parker in "Suncoast"

Parker will next star in another live-action reimagining of a classic: How to Train Your Dragon, scheduled for theatrical release in 2025.

“I literally can't tell you anything,” she tells PEOPLE with a laugh. “What I can say is I'm having the best time. The cast, the crew, everyone is so immensely talented and lovely… I think people will be very pleased and excited when they get to finally see it.”

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Suncoast is in theaters now and premieres on Hulu on Friday. The Last of Us can be streamed on Max.

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