Peter Dinklage:

The Rise to TV Grace

By David Crow

Peter Dinklage is back on television in Netflix’s wicked I Care a Lot.

The wicked dark comedy features the actor in an unlikely role: that of a mob boss who wants revenge.

As noted on Den of Geek, “It’s an unexpected but quite welcome representation of old school patriarchy.”

But Dinklage has had an unexpectedly welcome career.

Growing up in New Jersey with dreams of becoming an actor, Dinklage used to put on shows with his older brother.

But after graduating from Bennington College, he struggled as a New York City actor.

Ty Burrell and Peter Dinklage in Richard III at the Public Theater in 2004

Even after his first movie role opposite Steve Buscemi in Living in Oblivion, Dinklage couldn’t get an agent.

In part this is because Dinklage refused stereotypical roles offered to actors with dwarfism.

“You can say no,” Dinklage told The New York Times in 2012. “You can not be the object of ridicule.”

Dinklage’s big break came in Tom McCarthy’s The Station Agent, a part not originally written for an actor with Dinklage’s condition.

Critic Andrew Sarris observed, “Dinklage projects both size and intelligence in the fascinating reticence of his face.”

The same year he appeared in instant family classic Elf, opposite Will Ferrell.

His big break of course came as Tyrion Lannister, a clever and tragic lead in Game of Thrones

“I knew he was incredibly funny, incredibly smart, and had a caustic wit,” creator David Benioff told The Times about Dinklage.

Dinklage was wary at first about doing a “dwarf role” in fantasy, saying, “my metal fence, my barbed wire was up.”

Instead Dinklage found the role of a lifetime, which went on to win him four Emmys...

… and pave the way for more film and stage work like X-Men: Days of Future Past and Cyrano Off-Broadway.

X-Men: Days of  Future Past