Will You Still Love Pete, tomorrow…
September 23, 2019 6:23 PM   Subscribe

 
Peter Dinklage is an amazing actor and I want to live in a world where he has so many opportunities that he has to turn roles down
posted by nikaspark at 6:30 PM on September 23, 2019 [44 favorites]


In the "Between Two Ferns" movie, Mr. Dinklage indicates that he has $102 000 000.00 in his checking account, so maybe he'll be alright.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:37 PM on September 23, 2019 [19 favorites]


Peter Dinklage was an actor before and will be an actor afterwards. He has so much dignity and vision....I read an interview with him way before Game of Thrones....I was really impressed with his intensity and focus and unwillingness to take any type of stereotypical roles. I don't know if it was this one but it was along these lines.
posted by bquarters at 6:42 PM on September 23, 2019 [29 favorites]


Death at a Funeral was great. More and varied roles, please.
posted by j_curiouser at 6:43 PM on September 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


First noticed him in “Living in Oblivion”. That was 1995, so I think he’s going to be ok.
posted by borges at 6:45 PM on September 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


I would trust Rebecca Cokley on this more than any abled non-Little Person who says “heck, he’ll be fine.” Listen to marginalized people when they tell you concerns that people like them have, please.
posted by matildaben at 6:45 PM on September 23, 2019 [58 favorites]


I'm quite indifferent to GoT, but Dinklage had a perfectly respectable acting career before it and I expect he will afterwards.
posted by tavella at 6:50 PM on September 23, 2019 [12 favorites]


Great piece. I’m always here to talk about Peter Dinklage. Especially because he has good taste in roles, unlike my darling Jaime Lannister who keeps filming stuff like Gods of Egypt.
posted by sallybrown at 6:52 PM on September 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


This isn't really about Peter Dinklage...
We move through the world consistently underestimated, mocked through the lens of a camera phone, parrying snarky remarks from both strangers and those closest to us. Wondering if we are ever truly accepted, and at what cost. And in all that intimacy we share with our fictional unicorn, many of us wonder will Dinklage’s career be more than four Emmys collecting dust. Are we stuck here? And what does that mean?

[...] it’s a theme that disabled people face daily. You love us, you find us inspiring, you respect us, insofar as we play a predetermined role. But the minute we step out of line, we have an opinion that differs from the mainstream, something snaps, something no longer computes. Then we become THAT disabled person (and don’t you DARE say that people with dwarfism aren’t disabled). That person who was cool for a bit, until we showed a side of our personality that defied your preconceived notions and then we’re ostracized.

[...] Will you call your member of Congress when the House inevitably votes again to kill the Americans with Disabilities Act, or will it not even cross your mind that you once cared a lot about a character who was disabled.

I want to believe you will. I want to believe that six months from now, once he’s done going back to this theater roots playing Cyrano the offers will be lining up. And you, his loving public, will follow his career. I want to believe that the youngest Lannister brother awoke an empathy center in your abled hearts and it’s more than just a blip. But for now I’m going to sit back and wait.
posted by katra at 7:01 PM on September 23, 2019 [51 favorites]


He elevated GoT, not the other way around.
posted by cron at 7:01 PM on September 23, 2019 [39 favorites]


He had a decent career before, and will surely have a decent career after, but will he have the career a non-little person with the same talent and raw charisma would have after such a pop-culturally huge hit role? I think that's Rebecca Cokley's point, and I share her concerns.

Peter has the talent, the experience, the notoriety, and has paid the dues to be a top-billing star. The fact that it's even reasonable to wonder if he'll actually get the future roles he deserves tells me everything I need to know.
posted by tclark at 7:01 PM on September 23, 2019 [39 favorites]


Isn't it pretty rare for breakout stars of longrunning TV series to continue getting star billing after their shows end? Look back at similar touchstones like Friends, Lost, Breaking Bad... all their top names went on to do nothing nearly as successful or significant afterwards. I have a hard time thinking of anybody's who's bucked that trend. Maybe Julia Louis Dreyfus in Seinfeld --> Veep? Or Bryan Cranston if you count Malcolm in the Middle as a breakout role? Jennifer Aniston did the romcom circuit for awhile, I guess.
posted by Rhaomi at 7:15 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


I would love to see him reprise his Richard III with 8 years of Tyrion under his belt.
posted by Ndwright at 7:16 PM on September 23, 2019 [14 favorites]


The Station Agent is where I first saw him. Great movie. If he keeps getting work like that, he's going to do fine.
posted by Fukiyama at 7:17 PM on September 23, 2019 [30 favorites]


After reading the wikipedia page about Death at a Funeral (2007), I found a copy online. The opening credits are playing now...
posted by bendy at 7:18 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Oh shit, we've brought the wrong one.
posted by bendy at 7:22 PM on September 23, 2019


What Will Peter Dinklage Do After His Role As Tyrion Lannister?, Cinema Blend, Mick Joest, May 10, 2019. A few possibilites.
posted by cenoxo at 7:24 PM on September 23, 2019


This article is inane and insipid. Dinklage was, is, and will be an award-winning actor. To focus on his dwarfism is beyond obnoxious. The other actors the author compares him with aren't even in the same league. This is just dumb.
posted by jdroth at 7:32 PM on September 23, 2019 [10 favorites]


Ted Dansen did a myriad of 80s/90s rom/com movies (like 3 men and a Baby) and a small sitcom called Cheers then retreated from starlight - perhaps partially by choice. And he never came back...
...Except for that whole The Good Place.

Dinklage has been in dramas, comedies, and epic science fiction films. For the love of god - I'll take him giving any character depth - just because he gives every character he plays life - not the other way around. Can he pull off a romcom lead? Yes. Would that romcom wind up having to address the dichotomy of his depth and his dwarfism? No! Because find me the woman who would mark the end of their career by spending part of a movie being discriminatory about his disability and I'll show you a bad script and a worse actress (and a movie dinklage wouldn't be part of). You could get a Ghost World / Buschemi quasi romance at worst for a female star to participate in - or even a personality mismatch like a Kathleen Turner/Michael Douglass mix (that ignored the dwarfism) with absolutely *zero* of the audience giving *any* consideration that dinklage was shorter than the leading lady.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:39 PM on September 23, 2019


He got the part in GOT because of his body. Did I wake up in a magical world where he was originally up for, oh, the role of Ser Davos? I absolutely believe that Dinklage is good enough to elevate any role he chooses, but it's undeniable that most directors don't see it the same way.
posted by muddgirl at 7:47 PM on September 23, 2019 [16 favorites]


And Ted Danson even had the black-face incident he had to acknowledge.
posted by SoberHighland at 7:52 PM on September 23, 2019


This article is inane and insipid. Dinklage was, is, and will be an award-winning actor. To focus on his dwarfism is beyond obnoxious. The other actors the author compares him with aren't even in the same league. This is just dumb.
Can we not do this? Rebecca Cokley is really smart, and she has thought more than most people about the opportunities available to people with dwarfism, because she is a person with dwarfism and because she's a really influential activist on disability issues. (She was the executive director of the National Council on Disability in the Obama administration and currently heads the disability justice program at the Center for American Progress.) And she's been more affected than most people by the limited roles that people with dwarfism play in media and pop culture, because those limited depictions shape how people treat her. I think you should proceed from the assumption that her perspective on this is not dumb. If you don't understand where she's coming from, I think you should start from the premise that it's your problem, not hers.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:00 PM on September 23, 2019 [123 favorites]


To focus on his dwarfism is beyond obnoxious.

We get it. You don't see height.
posted by Etrigan at 8:09 PM on September 23, 2019 [41 favorites]


Dinklage is one of those actors who is both so good and so savvy in choosing roles that I will go see him in anything. If he’s in it, that means something. (Of course that can change. I used to be that way with Denzel and then he was in a bunch of crap.)

I do hope there are enough good roles for him, but he has producer money and producer clout now.
posted by rikschell at 8:10 PM on September 23, 2019


[Folks, we can appreciate Dinklage's acting and think he's great, without at the same time downplaying the difficulty actors with dwarfism have in getting good roles, and the latter is more what the article's about.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:11 PM on September 23, 2019 [13 favorites]


This thread is the "I don't see color" of dwarfism.
posted by avalonian at 8:15 PM on September 23, 2019 [29 favorites]


A few more possibilities. It's just showbiz speculation: perhaps Dinklage is at a fortunate place where he can choose whatever he'd like to do.
posted by cenoxo at 8:29 PM on September 23, 2019


Peter has the talent, the experience, the notoriety, and has paid the dues to be a top-billing star.

Not really; TV stardom is generally not any kind of reliable launch to movie stardom, especially a TV supporting role. I expect he'll continue to get a mix of TV shows and the occasional smaller budget picture, along with any significant roles that call specifically for a dwarf actor, and that's pretty much what I'd expect for most middle-aged actors with a notable non-lead role in a prominent TV series.

There's roles he's certainly going to be never looked at for, like leads in big budget romantic comedies, but I also wouldn't really expect a 50 year old character actor of average height to get offered much in the way of that either. Emmys or no.
posted by tavella at 8:30 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


I have no idea where I first saw Peter Dinklage - possibly the 30 Rock TV series, since that's the only thing I recognize as having seen on his IMDB page, or some other incidental sighting somewhere else, or it might have been the "Space Pants" thing. Although I'm aware he was in GoT I never watched it. I do know that I loved his turn as the primate pirate captain in the otherwise pointless Ice Age: Continental Drift. Not all A-list (or even B-list) movie/TV actors can pull off distinctive voice-acting parts. That's all I had to say, really. He's clearly a talented actor and I hope he'll continue to get roles worthy of his skills.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:32 PM on September 23, 2019


Reporting in from NYC to say that the posters for his starring role in a production of Cyrano de Bergerac are starting to show up in the subway stations.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:41 PM on September 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


On the topic of his voice acting is the extremely flat Destiny 1 voice acting. I so want to know what went down there... the lines were later re-recorded by another actor.

Just popped into my head cause you mentioned ice age.

And no, I don’t think Emmy award winning people from shows are guaranteed breakouts. Bryan Cranston isn’t hurting for work probably but he isn’t a-list. Jon Hamm is fine as well but not huge. Those guys crushed for their series.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:43 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


And he never came back... ...Except for that whole The Good Place.

Well, he [Ted Danson] did a really excellent adaptation of Gulliver's Travels (the whole thing, not just Liliput) with his wife that was a truly great political commentary (as it should be). His series with Jason Schwartzman Bored To Death was entertaining every single episode. He's been a season of Fargo, he's been doing varying length guest spots or other appearances basically every year since Cheers ended.

I don't even follow television or Danson that closely but i've been consistently aware of him being around since Cheers ended.s
posted by hippybear at 8:44 PM on September 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


a 50 year old character actor

I wouldn’t call Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister a character actor, because he was one of the three (?) main characters in the show, along with Jon Snow and Daenerys. A good analogue might be Jon Hamm as Don Draper, although Hamm was less famous pre-Mad Men than Dinklage was pre-GOT and Hamm’s character was more the single lead of his show. Hamm has struggled somewhat with roles after Mad Men, but I don’t think anyone can doubt that the amount of opportunities and offers Hamm got and is still getting is probably more than Dinklage is, or that the parts are more varied. Maybe Dinklage’s are for higher quality films, though. But maybe Dinklage wants a big part in one of those superhero movies rather than something arty. This is one of Cokely’s points:
And it’s a theme that disabled people face daily. You love us, you find us inspiring, you respect us, insofar as we play a predetermined role. But the minute we step out of line, we have an opinion that differs from the mainstream, something snaps, something no longer computes.
How much room is there for Dinklage to use his current fame to define his own career, as opposed to the expectations mainstream audiences have of him because he is an actor with dwarfism?
posted by sallybrown at 8:50 PM on September 23, 2019 [12 favorites]


Let's not dismiss the almost certain fact that Dinklage has banked a considerable fortune for his work in GoT. Enough for me to live and retire on, for sure, but a fair guess that it would be sufficient for Dinklage as well. At the very least, it could provide a fallback in case he doesn't get roles in the future.

But I would doubt that will be the case. Hollywood will almost certainly want to work with Dinklage, and I can easily see roles written specifically with him in mind. And if not, yeah, he's a wealthy man and won't exactly be struggling for money. (Not that money is the most important thing, but...it's pretty important.)
posted by zardoz at 8:54 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


I mean, do we know he wants more gigantic Hollywood roles? Isn't it supposed to be the dream of every serious actor to buy a great house and put their kids through school with that one kinda cheesy mainstream role he elevates through his talent and then do actual art for the rest of his days? If I had $10 mil you would never catch me in front of a green screen again. If he could do Station Agent-caliber work indefinitely (which is where I took note of him), that would be a pretty darned good career.

He should have the option to do whatever he wants (although, as people have noted, being a TV star doesn't always translate into movies--has Jon Hamm had any decent work except his hilarious turn as Gabriel in Good Omens since Mad Men?), but I don't know that I'd automatically conclude from his appearing in indies from now on that what he really wanted was to strap on the mocap suit and act at a tennis ball. What else is a Big Movie these days? The John Grisham Middlebrow Big Budget Thriller no longer exists; neither does the Ultraglamorous Big Budget Romantic Comedy.
posted by praemunire at 9:02 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


I think the question isn't so much about roles written specifically FOR Dinklage, but how often will he be considered for roles that weren't written for him but for which he might be a worthy choice up against anyone else.
posted by hippybear at 9:05 PM on September 23, 2019 [14 favorites]


Jon Hamm shows up and is awesome and hilarious or genuinely good in small parts.

Legion voice over
Barry hilarious cameo as his dream self
Bad Times at the El Royale

He should star in something though.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:06 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Jon Hamm had any decent work except his hilarious turn as Gabriel in Good Omens since Mad Men?

I think he was great in Baby Driver, but unfortunately I can't fully enjoy that movie any more because it has Kevin Fucking Spacey in it.
posted by tclark at 9:13 PM on September 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


I also had a bit of a tough time reading this because, bluntly, it does get Peter Dinklage's career wrong. He was an indie film darling long before Game of Thrones, and he's already played many and varied characters of the type she asks if he will be allowed to play, including love interests and leading men. He was, and is, a respected working actor, and at the time season 1 of GOT premiered was arguably the best-known cast member after Sean Bean. The fears in the article don't align with my remembrances of The Station Agent tearing up the film fest circuit, or his scene-stealing turn in Penelope, or his love-interest guest appearance on 30 Rock, all of which happened before Game of Thrones. She asks rhetorically if he will ever be viewed on the level of Toni Collette; in actual fact, I think that is pretty much exactly where he already is.

I don't think the point she's making is at all wrong. Dinklage has clearly worked hard for many years to get the respect he has, and I am sure that respect would have been easier to come by, and the roles more varied, had he been of average height. Certainly, some of his roles have been a hell of a lot more respectful to him than others. And I wonder how many chances he gets to compete with people of average height for the roles that he gets. But he does compete, and he does get those roles, and so that's a weird place for the article to come from.

I wonder if a better question might not have been where the next Peter Dinklage is. Dinklage himself is fine; he is a respected name, and a proven commodity, and his career will no doubt continue on pretty much exactly the same track it was prior to Game of Thrones. But he's 50, and he's just one guy! Surely to god Hollywood is a large and diverse enough place to have more than one prominent actor with dwarfism. The questions as phrased in the article aren't great: could the film-going public support Peter Dinklage as a leading man? Well, yes, because the film-going public already has. But will the film-going public support another actor with dwarfism getting the kinds of diverse roles that Dinklage has? Will other actors with dwarfism get the chance to be indie stars, or Emmy winners in a swords-and-sandals drama, or the bad guy in a blockbuster X-Men movie? I think that is a great question, and that the answer to it probably makes the author's point better than the article itself.
posted by ZaphodB at 9:14 PM on September 23, 2019 [56 favorites]


What I am reminded of here is the previous post on Kazuo Ishiguro's The Gourmet and David Rappaport's performance as Dr Grosvenor. In the screenplay, we see that Ishiguro did not write Dr Grosvenor as a dwarf, and we might think "See, Rappaport can get any part." But then we realize that Rappaport's lines are dubbed and we realize why he was cast.

"Oh, make it weird! Put a dwarf in it!"
The line is from Living In Oblivion (1995) delivered by Tito, a dwarf pissed off by the roles he has to accept in Hollywood and played, of course, by Peter Dinklage.
posted by dannyboybell at 9:14 PM on September 23, 2019 [10 favorites]


I don't even follow television or Danson that closely but i've been consistently aware of him being around since Cheers ended

And that's just the *great stuff* he was in. Becker ran for six seasons.
posted by absalom at 9:15 PM on September 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


And in all that intimacy we share with our fictional unicorn, many of us wonder will Dinklage’s career be more than four Emmys collecting dust.
___
Peter Dinklage is an amazing actor and I want to live in a world where he has so many opportunities that he has to turn roles down


Um, I believe we are already living in this world? I only watched GoT a few months ago, up until this point I had no idea PD was a central character. When I first saw him there, it was, like "Oh, wow, that guy, he is excellent!" He has been a successful working actor for years and years, I do not see that stopping any time soon. His imdb page clearly indicates that he is in the top 10% for successful and productive working actors. And no doubt GoT has made him very rich.

So yeah, good for him, but I do not see the need for much hand-wringing on his behalf...
posted by Meatbomb at 9:21 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Like, for example, I bet that Dinklage could do basically any role that Tom Hanks has done. Like I can't think of a Tom Hanks movie where I can't imagine Dinklage being in it except for maybe that WWII film because of the extreme physicality required for the role, but it's possible that Dinklage could also do all that because I don't know him and I'm making ablest assumptions.

But roles that Tom Hanks did where you can imagine the script being done as written without really mentioning dwarfism much? Just treating him like a person living a life? Even GoT didn't do that. If anything, it was deliberately cruel toward little people (is that the term now? I appreciate correction if needed) and used that as a constant plot point to keep Tyrion ground down even while he strove to rise above it.

That's not actually an ideal role if you're wanting to make an argument toward diverse casting in media. It's actually the opposite -- it's saying "you're great if you can be in a role that insults you and people like you all the time and you can still manage to have a good character written for you even those circumstances".

Hell, that's just living life disabled or gay or even as a woman. "You can be great as long as you overcome all the bullshit associated with your mere existence."

We need more casting in Hollywood (both television and film) that is gender/race/ability blind, and allows more people who are considered somehow "different" to be in roles that allow them to just be that character without a lot of comment on their difference. It's through that kind of depiction that everyone becomes normalized and everyone starts to find true representation.
posted by hippybear at 9:22 PM on September 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


I'm curious how Peter Dinklage will feel about the article.
posted by theora55 at 9:29 PM on September 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


But maybe Dinklage wants a big part in one of those superhero movies rather than something arty.

Um.

(If I'm not mistaken, that means that, of the GoT regulars, the only one in a higher-grossing movie than him is Gwendoline Christie.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:58 PM on September 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


Dat title tho
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:58 PM on September 23, 2019


But maybe Dinklage wants a big part in one of those superhero movies rather than something arty.

Um.


He was also in X-Men: Days of Future Past as the chief villain, a high-powered businessman/scientist in a role written with zero reference whatsoever to his dwarfism. Grossed almost three-quarter of a billion dollars globally.
posted by praemunire at 10:06 PM on September 23, 2019 [21 favorites]


It seems like Cokley is articulating at least two concerns in this article: whether GOT might be the peak of Dinklage's popular success, but also whether Dinklage and/or Tyrion might remain as an isolated example of popular success for actors/characters with dwarfism:

What does it mean for my community if we don’t see a plethora of meaty roles that defy expectations for actors with dwarfism going forward.

Various people here have credibly argued that the first concern is misplaced, but that seems like a much harder case to make for the second one.
posted by shenderson at 10:07 PM on September 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


But maybe Dinklage wants a big part in one of those superhero movies rather than something arty.

Um.


It's a small supporting role, but it is a big part. (pushes two drums & a cymbal off a cliff)
posted by taquito sunrise at 10:08 PM on September 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


As far as I recall, in the X-men movie his height is never mentioned by any of the other characters.
posted by rjs at 10:13 PM on September 23, 2019


(As praemunire posted while I was typing on my phone.)
posted by rjs at 10:15 PM on September 23, 2019


I've often thought that Dinklage's role as Tyrion has probably generated more respect towards people with dwarfism than just about anything else ever. Representation matters, and a major role on the biggest TV show in the world (not to mention as the first-listed actor for the last few seasons) is some magnificent representation.

I definitely noticed when he played a bad guy in one of the X-Men movies that his dwarfism wasn't part of the role at all.
posted by nnethercote at 10:18 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


It's a small supporting role, but it is a big part. (pushes two drums & a cymbal off a cliff)

just realized if you haven't seen the movie it looks like the joke is I'm an asshole, but the dwarven race in the MCU are gigantic aliens & he's several times larger than Chris Hemsworth, thanks have a great night
posted by taquito sunrise at 10:19 PM on September 23, 2019 [12 favorites]


"What Will Peter Dinklage Do After His Role As Tyrion Lannister?"

OMG they're turning The Dwarf into a movie? I LOVE that book, and I never get to talk about it because hardly anyone has read it, and I can think of SO many fascinating ways to interpret it for cinema, and with an actor like Dinklage in the lead role ... with a good script, it'll bring so much of his past work to bear on a complex, dark, evil, yet nonetheless creepingly understandable character. One reason it's never been turned into a movie is that you couldn't CGI the main character without it becoming absurd, and the dramatic demands of the role would limit your casting to a small handful of very talented actors who can play a dark and complex tragedy without turning it into melodrama ... all but one of whom are too tall. With an actor of Dinklage's caliber who fits the physical demands of the role and who is one of the very few actors working today that I think could bring a character of such complexity and darkness to life in a cinema (as opposed to TV) setting ... Ugh I hope the script is good, that movie would be AMAZING. AMAZING. Oscar-bait amazing, if the script is good. OMG I'm so excited, I never figured there'd be a Hollywood producer wanting to film a 60 year old Swedish novel that is an extended meditation and commentary on Machiavelli's The Prince. (I swear there must be one producer who did his college thesis on The Dwarf and who's been sitting on the project for 40 years in the hopes of one day finding the right leading man.)

(It's a big part of why Par Lagerkvist won the Nobel for literature, y'all, you should go read it )

But yes, I totally worry about Dinklage's career -- I think he's wonderful on the big screen, but his leading-man movies have not performed super well, and a lot of casting directors are not able to think outside very narrow ranges of male looks. He's so charismatic on a movie screen, but so few (non-indie) movies are willing to let him shine like that. It's frustrating.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:37 PM on September 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


I believe the X-Men role was one he got on the strength of acting and stardom alone - Trask in the comics isn't little.

I guess a parallel could be Dinklage's contemporary Warwick Davis, who hit it big right out of the gate as Willow at 18 (one of my first crushes, natch) and yet has had a career of character/costume parts where you can rarely see his face. He uses the genre money for a lot of theatre, at least.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 10:38 PM on September 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


Re: sitcom stars who successfully become movie stars playing diverse roles, there's Woody Harrelson.
posted by carmicha at 11:14 PM on September 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


I'm confused as to where sitcoms came into play here? GoT was many thing but it's hard to imagine anything on television as far away from being a sitcom. I guess because of Ted Danson?

I'll be the pessimist here. I absolutely believe Dinklage will get a bunch of work, but I don't think it'll be anything like the massive Johnny Depp breakout post-Pirates, the example in the article. Not because Dinklage doesn't deserve it but because movie producers generally suck as people. And audiences often suck as people. Mostly just because people suck.
posted by Justinian at 2:23 AM on September 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


Equality is not when Peter Dinklage — one of the finest actors of his generation — can get work. Equality is when slightly talented LPs can get work at the same rate and with the same level of (non-)humiliation as the equivalently middlingly-good average-sized people.
posted by Etrigan at 3:28 AM on September 24, 2019 [32 favorites]


Equality is when slightly talented LPs can get work at the same rate and with the same level of (non-)humiliation as the equivalently middlingly-good average-sized people.

Exaaaaaaaaaaactly.

Peter Dinklage was actually doing pretty dang okay before GoT, and was already at a lower level of being able to pick and choose roles. He's spoken before of turning down work that played to his height - no Christmas elves, no Oompa-Loompas, etc. He actually was skeptical of playing Tyrion at first because "....you only came to me because the character's a dwarf, didn't you?" and the show's creators had to meet with him and sell him on the character a little ("Yes, Tyrion is a dwarf, but here's everything else you should know about the character"). When he was in one of the Narnia films a lot of his fans were surprised because "I thought you swore never to play a part like this, dude?"

He's been able to do that because he is exceptionally talented to the point that even the most thick-headed producer can acknowledge that "oh, that guy's talented. Okay, I'll buy him as an option." He's struck me as always having had a bit of an indie sensibility, and playing the hero of an MCU film may not be the kind of thing he wants to do. But he kind of already had that ability to pick and choose.

His level of talent is extremely rare, though and there are plenty of other actors just one step below him on the ladder who are also pretty talented but not quite to the point that their talent overcomes their particular physical shape in the eyes of the casting agents.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:07 AM on September 24, 2019 [8 favorites]


So, Danny DeVito has had a pretty successful career spanning film and tv. He's 6" taller than Dinklage, started in a prestige film (Cuckoo's Nest), and has played in superhero movies (Batman Returns). Most of his roles have not required him to be short, although his physicality is certainly part of his characters. I suspect many of the roles he's had were not written with him in mind, but were tailored after the fact to fit his personality and audience expectations.

Dinklage isn't a perfect analogy, obviously - he's better looking and has more range, and I doubt he'd be satisfied with a career of character actor work. But I think he'll be fine. And as far as true equality coming when a mediocrity with dwarfism can compete with taller mediocrities... absolutely true but I think the way there is through exceptionally talented trailblazers. You need to establish a market for a Peter Dinklage type before you can get a poor man's Peter Dinklage.
posted by condour75 at 5:00 AM on September 24, 2019 [4 favorites]


Pixels (2015)
Knights of Badassdom (2013)
Lead actor, maybe; character roles, definitely. We need more Peter Dinklage.
posted by TrishaU at 5:48 AM on September 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


Dinklage can pull off that world-weary expert feel really well - if they ever make a movie of Tim Powers' Drawing of the Dark, I'd love to see him in the lead as Duffy.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:02 AM on September 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


Various people here have credibly argued that the first concern is misplaced, but that seems like a much harder case to make for the second one.

Exactly. Dinklage will do ok (though as noted, likely with fewer opportunities than for other actors) but I agree with the article that we are not seeing any flowering of opportunities for actors with dwarfism. Nor, more generally, is Hollywood opening the doors to talented actors of all kinds of bodies.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:08 AM on September 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


Dinklage isn't a perfect analogy, obviously - he's better looking and has more range, and I doubt he'd be satisfied with a career of character actor work.
Dinklage has achondroplasia, a common form of dwarfism that causes distinctive physical features, aside from just being unusually short. DeVito presents as a short man, while Dinklage unambiguously looks like someone with a particular genetic condition. I think there's a difference between them that goes beyond the six inch difference in their height. DeVito's short stature is also caused by a genetic condition, but I don't think that casting directors or audiences necessarily see him as anything other than a short man, whereas Dinklage is up against the barriers that Hollywood creates for people with visible disabilities. And again, I think you should trust Cokley on this topic, because she also has achondroplasia and is deeply involved in the Little People community, and she knows more about this than you do.

(If anyone is interested in Cokley, this piece that she wrote for CNN is a good introduction.)
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:32 AM on September 24, 2019 [20 favorites]


I agree with the article that we are not seeing any flowering of opportunities for actors with dwarfism. Nor, more generally, is Hollywood opening the doors to talented actors of all kinds of bodies.

On that I can firmly agree. Hollywood can suck.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:44 AM on September 24, 2019


Did anyone see Rememory? I thought the trailers looked interesting, although it looks like the reviews were not great.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 8:20 AM on September 24, 2019


Here's a list of my current and recent favorites tv shows:

The Expanse (scifi)
The Good Place (comedy)
Shameless (Drama)
Orange is the New Black (Drama)
Stranger Things (scifi)
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (comedy/musical/drama)

None of them have a little person in them. The Expanse is known for being good and very diverse, with somewhat of an anthology format, yet no little person in the cast at all.

Now, pick your favorite show and imagine Peter Dinklage as the male lead. I say Dinklage because he's a noted and well respected actor who can do comedy and drama. Theoretically he could do the work in your favorite show and surely he's not the only hugely talented actor with dwarfism.

Yet, when asking myself these questions, I did pause and wonder "how would that work?" How would a littler person work as the male romantic lead in The Good Place? How would a female dwarf actor work as the brilliant-and-bold-and-not-to-be-fucked-with deputy UN person in The Expanse?

So yeah, I got some inborn prejudices. It's good to have them pointed out by this article. Because I'd follow Peter Dinklage anywhere. You could describe a movie with the most boring and awful premise, but if you mentioned Dinklage was in it, I'd be down to watch it.

But what about an awesome sounding movie with a dwarf in one of the lead roles? What would my reaction be and why? Admittedly, I'd be a bit confused or taken aback probably if, say, it was a super-hero flick. Because while everyone agrees that dwarfs are people and fine, it's a whole 'nother story when they're "living next door," and starring in your favorite tv show/movie.

But if we hold onto those prejudices, we'd be missing out watching someone of Dinklage's caliber and that's a loss all around.

So yeah, more "blind casting" or what have you, to let those with talent shine. It'll be a better world if there's a hugely talented dwarf as the star of a tv comedy show where their dwarfism isn't an issue (or butt of jokes).
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:03 AM on September 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


Will we still love him? Absolutely. We've loved him, at our house, since 2003's The Station Agent. I doubt I would have bothered with GoT out of the gate without the interest his involvement created for me.
He elevated GoT, not the other way around.
Honestly, he made GoT possible. I have heard it said, but have never found an actual hard cite, that Dinklage's existence is one of the key things that made the show viable. I mean, you need an amazingly charismatic, charming, and profoundly good actor who is also a dwarf, right? They didn't want to do the whole saga with Jackson-style perspective tricks.

Name another one.

Also, success in TV doesn't have to be career-ending. It sometimes is, sorta, but when it is it's usually because someone had no serious body of work BEFORE the TV success, which pretty much describes all the Friends alumni. (OTOH, it's probably unfair to look at their post-TV careers as predictive, since they all left with absolute fuck-you money. Maybe it's not surprising they weren't eager to dive right back into lots of work? They can do what they want forever, and for some of them constant work is probably not what they want anymore.)

Dinklage's resume is amazingly diverse. If you're casting something cool right now, and there's no obvious reason your male lead can't be 4' 4", then I'm thinking you at least consider pitching him. His presence is amazing, even in small or throwaway roles, and he's proved audiences love him. He is, legitimately, a draw.

Now, obviously, Dinklage isn't the only fantastic actor with dwarfism. But maybe his career -- which is mostly roles that don't hinge on his height -- will help people see that actors with dwarfism can play most any role, not just the elves and leprechauns that Dinklage has famously avoided, if they have the chops. And I'm dead certain Dinklage isn't the only one with serious talent.
posted by uberchet at 9:09 AM on September 24, 2019


He should be the next James Bond.
posted by pracowity at 10:42 AM on September 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. Folks again, the article isn't just about Dinklage, its purpose is not to seek predictions only about him and his career -- it's about the bigger picture. Dismissing it as concern trolling is missing the point.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:58 AM on September 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


None of them have a little person in them. The Expanse is known for being good and very diverse, with somewhat of an anthology format, yet no little person in the cast at all.

The frequency of dwarfism in the population is about 1 in 20,000. So it is not actually statistically out of whack that there's only one major LP actor working in TV and movies currently.
posted by tavella at 11:11 AM on September 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


This article isn't about Dinklage. Dinklage is a convenient outlier so that the author can relay the texture of the disabled experience to a public that is ablist and doesn't give a shit.

I'm annoyed by that. I'm annoyed that such a clumsy article was written and I'm annoyed that being disabled sometimes means that riding the coattails of "one of the good ones," is necessary as a cudgel meant to knock some sense into a public that is so intent on othering disabled people. I don't blame the author though, because sometimes you wake up and Cinderella's megaphone materializes at your feet. Best get yelling because the cultural flashpoint will pass and you'll be holding air again while the rest of the world works very hard to silence you.

To everyone that says that Dinklage is set for life: It's not about that. Dinklage is, as I said, an outlier. He is exceptionally talented, probably had exceptionally good luck, worked exceptionally hard, and is generally an exceptional human being. He is exceptional irrespective of his genetics. Come what may he'll get roles or he won't. It doesn't matter because the rest of the world has already built a framework for him to occupy. What does or does not happen in his career matters not one jot because that's not the point no matter what the author says. Dinklage is a poor example and nobody should be pining over his career because he lives so far beyond the typical curve. This is why ultra successful disabled folks ought not be used as examples. It's just another way to create distance between "normal" folks and disabled ones. It's not relatable, and it engenders some of the obnoxious responses here about Dinklage's significant success rather than the public's reactions to Dinklage as a working disabled person.

It's frustrating that I'm left grateful that this conversation is happening at all, rather than feeling like there's demonstrable progress.
posted by Ephelump Jockey at 11:14 AM on September 24, 2019 [8 favorites]


Two things about Dinklage that set him apart from other LP actors. The first is his amazing acting chops. Second, he broke out in a serious role (Station Agent) that was tangential to his stature and he killed it. There are certainly structural and cultural barriers to him becoming another Meryl Streep or Dustin Hoffman, but he is good enough to hurdle them long before society eliminates them.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:31 AM on September 24, 2019


Part of the reason a case can even be made is because Dinklage is a great actor and Tyrion Lannister is a great character, for essentially the same reasons. I certainly hope screenwriters and casting agents are thinking, "Hey, I want an amazingly brilliant and articulate character in my show who happens to be a dwarf!" because clearly people will watch the hell out of it when it's well-done. The character of Tyrion also did an incredible amount of heavy lifting in terms of portraying the whole issue of, "I'm a whole person, but nobody sees that because I'm a dwarf." Dinklage's acting brought it to the audience in a way that I'm not sure anyone else could adequately have done.

If Tyrion had just been a one-dimensional character who happened to be a dwarf, it wouldn't have mattered how good Dinklage was. Dinklage was in "Elf" and while that movie had tons of commercial success, it certainly wasn't a showcase for Dinklage's acting chops. Do we need more roles filled by LP who are as talented as Dinklage? Absolutely. But those roles need to be good roles too. Otherwise you're just wasting even more talent in shitty, one-dimensional roles, and Hollywood already wastes an incredible amount of opportunities by not putting money into their character development.
posted by Autumnheart at 11:52 AM on September 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


As for whether Dinklage would be considered for other meaty roles now that he's played an iconic one for several years...well, he wouldn't be the first to hit that wall, and Hollywood is littered with actors whose fame never escaped the gravity well of their iconic role. If that happens to Dinklage, I think it would be too chicken-and-egg to say whether it was because he's a dwarf, or because he's Tyrion.
posted by Autumnheart at 12:07 PM on September 24, 2019


I remember an article back when the Lord of the Rings first came out, lamenting that the hobbits were played by big people made to look small. Because it was a lost opportunity for a big-budget movie with multiple little people in leading roles. But that would also be fantasy little people, it might not normalize more common roles.

I also remember an interview, I think with Vern Troyer, where he said he wanted to play the lead in an action movie, and a lot of the comments were laughing at the idea. I think they were kind of stuck on an action hero being a big tough guy, but if it's more "the wrong person at the wrong place at the wrong time" I think it would work.
posted by RobotHero at 12:11 PM on September 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


Honestly, he made GoT possible.
Given that, by the end, the writers were trying to sell the entire plot of the final season solely by having him convincingly deliver poorly written speeches, I think you're right.

The Expanse
The Expanse is supposed to have very large height differences between characters, but they mostly didn't bother. I could totally see Dinklage in the Holden role.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 1:45 PM on September 24, 2019


Somewhere out there is the person who would be exactly the right casting for Miles Vorkosigan, and I hope to god that Peter Dinklage's career has made it slightly more likely that that person decides to become an actor.

eta: also, I have just realized that I once sold Rebecca Cokley a handmade doll at Awesomecon, which is neat.
posted by nonasuch at 5:35 PM on September 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


I used to watch Dinklage on a one season show called Threshold. He was great in it. The role didn't specifically have to be for a dwarf and as I recall, he was written as a ladies' man (not that he had much time for that what with the alien invasion and all).
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:55 PM on September 24, 2019


a friend of mine is currently casting a small indie film that he wrote and intends to direct. He will also be starring in it. As for the other leading role, he's looking for "... somebody between the age of 18 and 30, who's a way the f*** better actor than me." I wish more casting calls were for "... somebody between the age of ..." with no other filters. I suspect it would lead to better movies.

We can deal with the ageism issues separately.
posted by philip-random at 10:25 PM on September 25, 2019


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