The Dwarf Actors That Paved The Way For Peter Dinklage

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bill-swift - May 11, 2012

Game of Thrones is one of the best shows on TV. Even people who hate fantasy movies love that show. It's not hard to see why. It's one of the best written, best shot, best edited, and best acted shows out there. The actor that steals the show week after week is Peter Dinklage in his groundbreaking portrayal as Tyrion "The Imp" Lanister. Dinklage won a well deserved Emmy award for his role as the Machiavellian younger brother of evil queen Cersei. He has become one of the best known dwarf actors in the world. It's amazing how far little people have come in the entertainment business. Our parent's generation only saw dwarf actors in old reruns of The Wizard of Oz or the occasional Christmas movie. No doubt Dinklage is a great actor, but I think one of the reasons that we Gen-Xers and Gen-Yers are so comfortable with a dwarf leading man is that we were the first generation that saw dwarves being badasses and not just clowns. Here are 5 films and TV shows that paved the way for Peter Dinklage and Game of Thrones.

Time Bandits

Oh yes, Time Bandits. I loved this movie when I was a kid. If you haven't seen it, it's about a group of dwarves that kidnap a child and travel through time and space stealing stuff. The film starred the great David Rappaport and Kenny Baker (who also played R2-D2 in the Star Wars films). The Time Bandits were great because they did whatever they wanted and didn't care what the ultimate evil in the universe thought. That's straight up gangsta. So, if dwarves can be the masters of time and space, why can't they be the hand of the king?

The Ewoks In Return of The Jedi

I've had fights, screaming fights, with friends over the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi. They say that they ruined the film. Maybe it's because I was 6 and they reminded me of my teddy bear, but I loved the Ewoks. Even at 6, I knew that they were actually dwarves wearing bear suits. It was also the first movie role for Warwick Davis as Leia's buddy Wicket. The Ewoks brought down the all-powerful mechanized Empire with sticks and rocks. So, if little people in furry suits can destroy the Empire, we totally buy that Tyrion is the most dangerous man in Westeros.


After George Lucas met Warwick Davis on the set of Return of the Jedi, Warwick was his first choice to play Willow Ofgood. Willow is about a dwarf farmer who desperately wants to become the wizard apprentice to veteran dwarf actor Billy Barty. After discovering a mysterious baby all Moses-like in the river, he goes on a quest to return her to her people. Willow ends up saving the world with the help of Val Kilmer in a hippie wig. Davis would go on to star in the Harry Potter films, A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Ricky Gervais' sitcom Life is Short. So, if Davis can be a leading man in Willow, why not Dinklage in Game of Thrones?

Fantasy Island

I never missed an episode of Fantasy Island as a kid. The show starred the late great French dwarf actor Herve Villechaize as Tattoo. He was assitant to the suave Mr. Rorch, played by Ricardo Montalban. Every episode a new group of people would come to the island and Tattoo and Mr. Rorch made all their dreams come true. They never explained how they did this, (maybe they too were wizards?). Herve was known to be quite the lady's man. Legend has it that he had "A plane! A plane!" in his trousers. So, if we saw Herve with a hot model on his arm at the Emmy's, why can't Tyrion bang every prostitute in King's Landing?

Twin Peaks

Whenever I hear the words Twin Peaks, I immediately thing of Michael J. Anderson in his red leisure suit. Twin Peaks was a weird show, but it was never stranger than when agent Dale Cooper would venture into the Black Lodge to talk to Anderson. His character was called The Man From The Other Place, (real creative David Lynch). Anderson's backwards talking and funky dance soon became one of the trademarks of the show. Any episode he was in, he was all you talked about the next day. Anderson would go on to star in the incredibly underrated HBO series Carnivale. So, if Michael J. Anderson can steal the show in Twin Peaks, why not have a dwarf be the breakout star with Game of Thrones?

Article By Jack Tomas >

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