THE STATION AGENT - Q&A WITH PETER DINKLAGE
Peter Dinklage, who stars as Finbar McBride, learned his trade at Bennington College in Vermont, with a spell at RADA and the Welsh School of Music and Drama in Cardiff. Starting out on the New York stage, his film credits include LIVING IN OBLIVION, TIPTOES, HUMAN NATURE, SAFE MEN and ELF.
THE STATION AGENT has surely exceeded all expectations. Was it obvious to you how good it would turn out?
I loved the script from the first draft. It obviously went through changes, but the main characters remained intact, what they did and how they interacted - the foundation was always there. Tom just tweaked the script a little bit, so I always was in love with the script not because it was a great role for me to play but because of the whole story. There are not enough films with stories like that nowadays. I thought there was something very European about it. Not a lot has to happen in movies, if there are characters you care about.
The silence between the characters can say a lot, can't it?
And it was great fun for me to play. I had about two lines to learn every day.
You're quite unlike Fin in real life though, aren't you?
I like to have a sense of humour about life, and about myself. I understand the need to be alone sometimes. I live in New York City where we all live on top of each other. But I have a great group of friends, and a great family. I love being around them. And I'm an actor. You've got to be a social creature when you're an actor.
Yet some of the things that Fin goes through must reflect your own experience?
Sure, and Tom was very open to my input. It wasn't anything deeply personal, just day-to-day things. When you're size you have a little bit of anger in you when they're younger, a me-against-the-world syndrome. You don't take people pointing at you and staring at you as a teenager as well as you do when you're 34 years old. You react to it differently. We put that into the story, there's a bit of suppressed anger with Fin that Tom's script handles with a really light touch. And even that takes a backseat to the real point of the movie. This is not all the character is, it's not what defines him and it's not what defines me on a day-to-day basis.
Did you know your co-stars Patricia Clarkson and Bobby Cannavale before making the film?
Tom wrote the rough draft about three years ago so since then we all got together about a couple of times a year to read through it, and we became good friends in that process. I had known Tom because I did a play that he wrote and directed some years ago, and I knew Patty as the friend of a friend. I didn't really know Bobby at all, but we became good friends within the project. By the time we shot it we knew each other pretty well.
Have things changed greatly for you since the success of THE STATION AGENT?
One job always needs to the next if you're lucky. This has had a wide audience, and a lot of people in the business have seen it. I've gotten some phone calls, so it's been okay. And Clint Eastwood loved it which was kind of neat.
So you met him, did you?
I did. Bobby and I met him at some awards show in LA. He came right over to us and said 'your film is the best film of the year boys'. That's been nice, people you really admire loving the film. That's been the best part of it.
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