the day to day of a professional actor in the San Francisco Bay Area

mostly the day to day of a professional actor in the San Francisco Bay Area, but also the home of the Counting Actors Project

Friday, March 30, 2012

Peter Dinklage: non-negotiables in action

There's a fantastic profile of Peter Dinklage in the NY Times right now.  A real world application of what I was writing about in my post on non-negotiables.

It's a great example for actors who struggle with the idea of short term financial gain, but long-term moral costs. Early in his career, Dinklage ate ' potato chips for dinner every night because he conscientiously objected to playing one of Santa’s elves in Kmart ads.'

In the interview, he talks about prejudices against dwarves, "Dwarves are still the butt of jokes. It’s one of the last bastions of acceptable prejudice. Not just by people who’ve had too much to drink in England and want to throw a person. But by media, everything.” He goes on to point out that media includes the actors who play the roles and that “You can say no. You can not be the object of ridicule.”

As an emerging actor in New York, Dinklage worked in low-budget film and onstage, but couldn't book commercial work, specifically because he didn't want to play leprechauns or dwarves, which were the most high-paying roles available at the time.  He did take on a character in the indie film maker's indie film, Living in Oblivion, playing a little person actor who argues with the director that his dream sequence is stupid 'when does anyone have a dream with a dwarf in it?' 

Dinklage built relationships, made friends, worked with people who saw the whole person and his leading man chops and capabilities, which led to films like The Station Agent, and playing stage roles like Richard III.

Of course, Dinklage is now playing, arguably, the role of his career, Tyrion in HBO's Game of Thrones series, and is receiving tons of recognition from both fans and critics, including a Golden Globe.   

It's an inspiring story about an actor who knows what he will and will not do, rather than saying yes to every job, just because it's a job. RTWT.

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