Monday, June 9, 2008

Of Dogs and Dwarfs

I was wrong. In yesterday's post about book videos, I said that I doubted that Tachyon Press would have the resources to create a video for my July novel Dogs. But today I learned that Tachyon publicist Matt Staggs, who read my post, said that he is working on a Dogs video. This pleases me a lot. Stay tuned...

Meanwhile, I finished the dwarf story, now called "Act One," and sent it to Sheila Williams at Asimov's. The always-knowledgeable Mike Flynn had suggested that I rent and watch the movie The Station Agent, in which the lead is played by dwarf actor Peter Dinklage. Dinklage is formidably talented, and the movie captures his alienation from a world that cannot look past his size. I enjoyed the film but I had one big caveat (it's always something): I couldn't believe that the other two major characters would have persisted so long in trying to win Dinklage's friendship in the face of his repeated, cold, and occasionally rude rebuffs. But once past that, it's a lovely, quirky film.

Dinklage, incidentally, is currently playing the dwarf Trumpkin in the Narnia movie Prince Caspian. He is unrecognizable. He said in an on-line interview that at first he was reluctant to take the role because it so much feeds into the mythic steotype of dwarfs, whereas a movie like The Station Agent makes them real, contemporary, multifaceted human beings. As, I hope, does my novella. At least, that was my intent.

4 comments:

bluesman miike Lindner said...

He was reluctant to take the role?? He must be independently wealthy if he can afford to turn down work. "A gig is a gig." The last thing any performer needs is a reputation of being "difficult." You =always= want work. Remember Star Trek TOS? There was an episode where George Takei (Sulu) was asked, "George, we're thinking about expanding your role in this script. Only thing is, Sulu will have to handle a foil with authority. Do you know anything about fencing?" "Fencing? That's my favorite sport! I fenced in college--team member!" "Good! One less headache! Let's go with that." And as soon as the writers left, Takei grabbed the L.A. Yellow Pages. "Let's see...'Fencing Teachers'..." =That's= a trouper!

Tempest said...

Thing is, it's a little murkier when you're dealing with playing roles that portray negative stereotypes. It's not about being difficult, but whether one is going to contribute to damaging misconceptions about a group one belongs to or not. This is a common problem faced by black actors, but some justify it by hoping that they'll become big enough stars someday to not have to play stereotyped roles and maybe even fund movies that give other black actors a chance to play good roles. it's working for Will Smith...

Mike Flynn said...

Glad you liked The Station Agent. I agree, maybe most people would have given up; but maybe those two had a reason for their persistence. No pain, no gain.

Another quirky indy film I liked is The Spitfire Grill. ("To a town with no future, comes a girl with a past.")
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117718/

bluesman miike Lindner said...

Tempest, hear ya talkin'. But I'm reminded of what an actress of the '30s said when asked about "the casting couch." (Wish I could recall her name.)

"My dear, we back then had to make a decision. Did you want to be a moralist, or did you want to be an actress."

Take the gig. Always. If you don't, someone else will. Why them, and not you?

A cynical view? Doubtless.

But that's show biz!