LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - With a leading role in a hit television series and an Emmy under his belt, actor Peter Dinklage returns to his indie movie roots in the dark comedy “Pete Smalls Is Dead.”
Pairing up with director and good friend Alexandre Rockwell, Dinklage plays the role of K.C., a former screenwriter led into the seedier side of the Hollywood film industry as he tries to save his kidnapped dog.
Dinklage, 42, was initially drawn to the optimist character of Jack, eventually played by Mark Boone. It was Rockwell who persuaded Dinklage to play the jaded K.C.
“He knew me better than I knew myself creatively,” laughed Dinklage, adding, “I’m glad I ended up doing K.C. because it was much more of a challenge for me as an actor.”
“Pete Smalls is Dead”, now playing in U.S. theaters, is a quirky comedy that follows friends Jack and K.C. as they try to find K.C.’s kidnapped dog and attend the funeral of their friend and Hollywood director Pete Smalls, only to find that there’s more to his death.
Dinklage is a regular on the off-Broadway theater scene and has appeared in numerous films including Christmas comedy “Elf,” “Lassie” and “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.”
Due to his height, 4 ft. 5 in. (1.35 meter), Dinklage is often typecast into dwarf roles, but the actor is keen to work outside stereotypical roles.
“I’ve definitely done projects that I shouldn’t have, but I’ve always been very protective of my fragile self,” said the actor. “I just want to be happy with my choices at the end of the day and have no regrets.”
Dinklage recently gained wider recognition after being cast as the cunningly witty Tyrion Lannister in HBO’s hit fantasy series “Game of Thrones,” a role that he believed broke the mold, and for which he won a supporting actor Emmy award this year.
“I love the idea that for someone of my size, it was very different to what we’ve seen before,” said Dinklage of Tyrion, adding. “My shoes didn’t curl up into little points at the end and I didn’t have to have a long beard. I don’t know what it is about dwarves having long beards.”
LA Weekly film critic F.X. Feeny called Dinklage “one of the subtlest and most magnetic actors now working.”
“Pete Smalls Is Dead” takes a journey through the underside of Los Angeles and Dinklage, a New Jersey native, was keen to portray a different view of Hollywood.
“I could relate to the cynicism of the Hollywood system, and how the indie film world has gotten a little bit stale, and the writer isn’t celebrated as he or she used to be,” said Dinklage.
The “Game of Thrones” actor stepped into a producer role for the film, with the intention of protecting Rockwell’s artistic vision.
“I really wanted to protect him and make sure he was able to make the movie he wanted to make, “said Dinklage.
While the producing role taught Dinklage lessons in patience and curbing his time expectations, the actor found pleasure in meeting “pockets of great neighborhood characters,” and exploring the quieter parts of Los Angeles.
“There’s a beauty to the underbelly of Los Angeles,” said Dinklage. “Ugly can be beautiful. Those areas outside of Beverly Hills, the ones with the alleyways, they can be quite lovely.”
Along with season two of “Game of Thrones,” the actor will also be seen in upcoming romance “A Little Bit of Heaven” with Kate Hudson, and comedy horror film “Knights of Badassdom,” a genre that Dinklage was excited about.
“I don’t ever want to bore or repeat myself,” said the actor. “Great writing is great writing, no matter what the genre is, and I just like working with great, challenging scripts.”
Editing by Jill Serjeant and Bob Tourtellotte