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Game Changers 2014: Peter Dinklage

Far from the days of refusing offers to play bit roles as elves and leprechauns on principle, Peter Dinklage is now the star of HBO’s massive hit 'Game of Thrones' and the owner of an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
Illustration: Sean McCabe

In 2014, Game of Thrones, in which Dinklage shines as the nimble-minded Tyrion Lannister (described by The New York Times as the ensemble cast’s “closest thing to a hero”), overtook The Sopranos as the most-watched HBO program of all time after averaging 18.4 million viewers per episode in its latest season. In a country where 15 years ago the most prominent Hollywood role for a dwarf was Verne Troyer as “Mini-me” in the Austin Powers franchise, Dinklage’s widespread critical and commercial success is nothing short of groundbreaking.

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Dinklage’s next project, My Dinner With Hervé, will be based on a script he co-wrote about the troubled life of Hervé Villechaize, who himself was an actor with dwarfism famed for his starring role on TV’s Fantasy Island and as Nick Nack in Bond movie The Man With The Golden Gun. When asked by The New York Times if he considered himself a “spokesperson for the rights of little people,” Dinklage answered, “Every person my size has a different life, a different history. Different ways of dealing with it. Just because I’m seemingly okay with it, I can’t preach how to be okay with it. I don’t think I still am okay with it. There are days when I’m not.”

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“There is nothing in Dinklage’s screen persona that asks for approval or validation,” asserted an A.V. Club review (of a 2009 review a 30 Rock episode in which Dinklage guest stars as a potential love interest for Tina Fey). “His whole vibe says, ‘I am what I am and if you don’t like that, fuck you.’” 

FIT FACT: Hours before hosting the 2012 Emmy Awards, Dinklage and GoT co-star Richard Madden hit the Beverly Hills Four Seasons fitness center for a free-weights and treadmill workout.


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