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Interview with Peter Dinklage

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Station Agent movie

Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson and Bobby Cannavale in "The Station Agent."

Miramax Films
In the movie, people walk by and make comments. Does that really happen?
Oh yeah, every day. You’ve just got to let that stuff roll off your back. I try to have a good sense of humor about life but I’m not going to play my sentimental violin. Everybody has some sort of pain in their life, I don’t want to set my pain above anybody else’s. That’s what this movie does – it doesn’t slip into that ‘me me’ sentiment.

I have a good sense of humor about life. I try to although I was in a subway about a year ago in New York and I felt this hand on my shoulder – this is an example I go back to – and I turned around and this older woman sort of looked at me and said, “I’m sorry. I just needed good luck today.” I’m a push-over and it’s an older woman. I went, “Oh, good luck.” She left the subway and I left the subway thinking, “What the f***?” And it sunk in – of course after she left. It was a little violating. It’s little things like that.

Do you feel like there are more opportunities for roles that don’t exploit or play to your size?
I’ve been lucky. Any actor who gets to make his living doing what he loves doing is pretty lucky. I’ve found these groups of artists who are writing good material, like Tom McCarthy. He’s one of my closest friends and he wrote this script for Patty, Bobby and myself. I’ve been fortunate to work with people over and over again in good projects.

Is Verne Troyer helping the cause or not?
I don’t have judgment about that stuff because I’m a huge fan of those movies. I think Mike Myers is hilarious and I have no judgment about that stuff. I’m not a spokesperson or activist for people my size. I’m not going to get on my soapbox about that stuff. People can do what they want to do. Sure, it might perpetuate a stereotype but I’m not going to be a hypocrite because I had a grand time at those movies. I was laughing my butt off at those movies. I’m not going to cast judgment upon it. But for me personally, that’s something I try and stay away from that.

Often roles written for somebody my size are a little flat. They are either fools or they’re sort of “Lord of the Rings”-filled with wisdom. They are not sexual, they are not romantic, they are not flawed. I love that about this character that Tom wrote and hopefully the way I played him has this stuff going on. He has romance, he has romantic feelings, he’s got anger, he’s got flaws.

I don’t like to do parts that are just because of my size. I like there to be more to the character than that. A sight gag doesn’t interest me. But it’s a matter of how much it beats the audience over the head and keeps reminding them of my size. I think the beauty of this movie is that it doesn’t. It just sort of falls away into the background. It becomes about these three characters and how they all share that loneliness in common. My dwarfism is just another facet of this character.

You have "Elf" coming out soon. How does that movie handle it?
"Elf" handles it wonderfully because I’m the only short actor in the movie and I play a big corporate executive boss at the end of the movie. It sort of does a little spin on it. It’s pretty funny.

Are you in a scene with Will Ferrell?
Yes. It’s hard to keep a straight face. All of those "SNL" skits where Jimmy Fallon’s just completely cracking up, I can understand why. He’s the funniest thing out there and an amazing actor, too. Everybody thinks he’s a got a brilliant comedy mind but I think he’s also a great actor. And Jon Favreau is the director, which I think will lift it from the traditional family holiday movie to something a bit more intelligent. He lifts it, and it’s a great script – a hilarious script.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
Interview with Bobby Cannavale
"The Station Agent" Photos, Trailer, Cast List and Websites

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