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"
“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.”
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!”
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.
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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