As the star of two megapopular TV shows (The Last of Us and The Mandalorian) and the gargantuan press cycles surrounding both of those shows, Pedro Pascal is absolutely everywhere right now. But those aren’t Pascal’s only projects popping off, as one of his recent, more underrated performances that sparked a TikTok meme has demonstrated.
The origin of the Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal meme
In 2022, Pascal starred with Nicolas Cage in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, an extremely meta examination and appreciation of Cage’s lengthy career that came and went fairly quickly. In it, Cage plays a fictionalized version of himself who’s offered $1 million to attend the birthday party of Javi Gutierrez (Pascal), a billionaire with ties to arms dealing who happens to be a giant Nicolas Cage fan. It’s trying to be many things at once: A buddy comedy, a spy-action movie, and a meta-commentary on both Cage’s previous film roles and the movie they’re in the middle of making. (There’s also a great bit involving Paddington 2 that was basically designed for Film Twitter.)
About 45 minutes into the film, Javi approaches Cage about the screenplay they agreed to work on together. Javi suggests a new approach, that instead of staring at screens, they should “open our minds to the infinite possibilities of what the cosmos has to offer.” In this case, that means taking LSD. The next scene shows Cage and Javi driving, both of them high out of their minds, as they try to come up with a character-driven story that’s full of nuance and includes a drug scene.
In the original scene, Jimmy Rushing’s “Blues in the Dark” plays as the movie cuts from Cage reluctantly taking LSD to the car ride. They turn to each other, Cage seemingly pissed while Javi looks like a kid in a candy store. But it doesn’t represent Cage’s mood in the scene as a whole; when we get a wide shot of the duo, they’re both laughing.
Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal memes on TikTok
The clip of Cage and Javi looking at each other in the car with polar opposite expressions started to show up on TikTok in February of 2023, according to Know Your Meme. Instead of the original tune, “Make Your Own Kind of Music,” a Mama Cass song that was most famously used in the Lost season 2 cold open, plays instead. With the caption, “me telling my bf the same thing for the 20th time in the same day,” the smile from Javi reads as someone nearly pushed to the brink by repeated action.
@gh0uliasux i forget real easily // #pedropascal #nicolascage #theunbearableweightofmassivetalent #bf ♬ original sound – ghoulia
Videos using the two very different reactions to illustrate a hodgepodge of situations took over TikTok and the landing page for “Make Your Own Kind of Music.” Some of the examples were on the sillier side, such as @chip2ner putting Mario and Luigi hats on Pascal and Cage while introducing the drama of Mario Kart’s dreaded blue shell (or beloved, depending on which end of it you’re on).
@chip2ner Pedro Pascal in Mario Kart #fyp #pedropascal #pedropascaledit #nicholascage #meme #pedropascalmeme #supermario #mariokart ♬ Make Your Own Kind Of Music – Mama Cass
It’s also pretty adept at capturing the disconnect when something is shocking to one person but no longer phases another. Whether it’s Midsommar or involves some kind of trauma, it fits.
@salvy93 #CapCut just about every kitchen i worked in had this happen #fyp ♬ Make Your Own Kind Of Music – Mama Cass
@teacherwithahusky Can we not though, Judy? I don’t have the energy for it today..😑 #CapCut #teachersoftiktok #teachersbelike #teachertok #professionaldevelopment ♬ original sound – Ms.Writer
@vecerovaj #pedropascal #nicolascage #itiswhatitis #fyp #fypシ #foryoupage #fypage ♬ Make Your Own Kind Of Music – Mama Cass
Cage is already an old hat at the meme treatment, but Pascal is quickly gaining on him. But unlike his other shows stacking up memes, which are much more serious in tone, or Pascal losing patience with some of the red carpet questions he’s been asked, the Unbearable Weight meme offers some levity. And if this somehow gets people to watch Unbearable Weight, even better.