BY LUKE WATHEN
Dwarf actors in Hollywood is rarely brought up. With the controversy surrounding the most recent Oscar season and the lack of diversity in nominations, it seems like a topic that is all too relevant.
See if you can even name an actor with dwarfism. Give it an honest effort. Most of us can think of the munchkins from “The Wizard of Oz,” Mini-Me from the “Austin Powers” movies or even the titular leprechaun from the “Leprechaun” series, but the names of these actors are usually a mystery to us.
In all fairness this is due to the nature of the characters.
All of the aforementioned characters are known for their short stature, something that is played up for comedic effect. It is no wonder that these people are somewhat forgettable when they essentially serve as the punchline of a mediocre joke.
There is of course a major exception to this rule: Peter Dinklage.
Dinklage is best known for his role as Tyrion Lannister in HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” a role which has catapulted his stardom from his bit role in “Elf” to an A-List Hollywood actor, starring in movies alongside the likes of Hugh Jackman and Adam Sandler.
It is perhaps Dinklage’s role in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” that is most interesting. In the movie, Dinklage plays Bolivar Trask, a scientist who seeks to rid the world of the film’s titular mutants.
Other than the science fiction element of the story, what makes Dinklage’s portrayal so interesting is the fact that he is a dwarf while the character of Trask was originally written as being normal sized. In fact, at no point in the movie is Dinklage’s stature ever mentioned.
This marks a turning point in movie making and casting. Dwarf actors are now being recognized for their talents instead of for their condition.
They are being seen as actors instead of novelties.
In an era where equality and diversity are constantly being brought up, it is refreshing to see actors with dwarfism reach the level of recognition that they have long deserved. Even the term dwarfism shows significant progress, as for years the derogatory term ‘midget’ was used without hesitation.
Peter Dinklage, as unlikely as it may seem, is serving as a hero of sorts. Through his superb performances in film and television, he is showing that dwarf actors are far more than just a novelty.