‘Game of Thrones” Peter Dinklage Goes for Third Emmy

August 8, 2016

Peter Dinklage’s nomination for the 2016 Primetime Emmy Awards marks his sixth consecutive year of being Emmy-nominated for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister on the HBO hit Game of Thrones. The star has already won two Outstanding Supporting Actor Emmys as well as a Golden Globe for playing the witty, womanizing, and wine-drinking member of House Lannister.

Right from the start, the show’s executive producers/writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ knew Dinklage was perfect for the part of the fan-favorite dwarf. They described Peter as “incredibly smart” and having a great sense of humor–not to mention he was born with achondroplasia, a common form of dwarfism, which was fitting for the role. However, Dinklage was cautious to take on roles that simply poke fun at his short stature; indeed, he’d previously ruled out countless chances to play elves or leprechauns. After all, in Dinklage’s words, “Dwarves are still the butt of jokes. It’s one of the last bastions of acceptable prejudice.” But when he learned the character had, “no beard, no pointy shoes,” and was “a romantic, real human being” he agreed to take on Tyrion.

Dinklage was the only dwarf in his family, and during his growing years he was challenged to come to terms with his condition. He describes himself as a sullen teen “who smoked cigarettes and wore black every day.” His classmates, on the other hand, mostly dressed in preppy clothes. As time passed and it became more clear they were outgrowing him, it became harder for Dinklage to accept his dwarfism. “When I was younger, definitely, I let it get to me. As an adolescent, I was bitter and angry and I definitely put up these walls. But the older you get, you realize you just have to have a sense of humor. You just know that it’s not your problem. It’s theirs,” he revealed. His parents’ support, was likewise key to coming to appreciate his differences as he developed a sense of pride in who he was.

After graduating from Bennington College with a degree in drama, the four-foot, five-inch aspiring actor moved to New York. Eventually he made his film debut opposite Steve Buscemi in the low-budget indie Living in Oblivion playing a frustrated actor with dwarfism who is unhappy with the limited, cliche roles he’s offered. But his breakout film role in The Station Agent would come a few years later. In response, critics praised Dinklage’s deeply affecting performance of a loner–a performance which stood in stark contrast to the traditional munchkin-like Hollywood roles given to people with dwarfism. From that point on, Dinklage continued to boldly find a way to break down Hollywood barriers. He is now a lead actor with a prolific and celebrated career. You can also hear his distinctive, sultry voice in several animated films such as The Angry Birds Movie in which he provided the voice of The Mighty Eagle. And according to The Hollywood Reporter, Dinklage along with other key cast members of Game of Thrones will be paid more than $500,000 per episode for season seven and potentially for an eighth season.