With The Hobbit out in theaters, it’s interesting to note that a film based on Dwarves, doesn’t mean that you will automatically see little people cast in those roles. More and more recognizable, regular sized actors are cast in prominent roles and their physical features are altered by CGI and make-up. With so few roles available to little people in the first place, it’s important to highlight filmmakers that have been honest in their casting and storytelling.
Every once in a while, a film comes around with a unique point of view and a positive portrayal of a little person like in Thomas McCarthy’s independent film, The Station Agent. Next Movie, as well as many other publications, list The Station Agent as the most positive film portraying little people. Actor Peter Dinklage plays the lead character, Finbar McBride, “A reclusive man who finds solace from an unkind world, in his love of trains.”
Fin is a complex and moving depiction of the emotional toll society sometimes exacts on outsiders. The fact that Fin is a little person informs the character but is only part of his persona, which immediately elevates The Station Agent above just about everything else Hollywood has given us.
The Station Agent won the audience award at Sundance in 2003, receiving critical acclaim with reviews that seldom mention that the character Fin is a little person. Peter Dinklage enjoyed the recognition and accolades of his performance, which launched his career in a new direction.
Most recently, he won a Golden Globe for his role, Tyrion Lannister, on HBO’s Game of Thrones. Dinklage recently talked to NPR about his character.
It would be stupid if he weren’t addressed as an ‘imp’ in this world, given the surroundings…it does address the size issue, but it doesn’t knock you over the head with it. Because you don’t really need to.
In an About.com interview, Dinklage talks about casting opportunities.
I’ve been lucky. Any actor who gets to make his living doing what he loves doing is pretty lucky. I’ve found these groups of artists who are writing good material, like Tom McCarthy. He’s one of my closest friends and he wrote this script for Patty [Patricia Clarkson], Bobby [Cannavale] and myself. I’ve been fortunate to work with people over and over again in good projects.
In the film, people stare and make comments and Fin tries to escape that world by being alone. Dinklage adds how he deals with it in his life.
You’ve just got to let that stuff roll off your back. I try to have a good sense of humor about life but I’m not going to play my sentimental violin. Everybody has some sort of pain in their life, I don’t want to set my pain above anybody else’s. That’s what this movie does – it doesn’t slip into that ‘me me’ sentiment.
In the midst of Hobbit season and a year of upset in NOT casting little people in film (read more on Snow White and the Huntsman casting), it might be time to take a first or second look at the classy Station Agent and celebrate filmmakers for honest storytelling as this Cinema Blend review suggests.
The Station Agent is one of those indie gems that slips through cracks and won’t likely see the light of day to the average person, and that’s a shame. I strongly recommend checking this film out.