Charles Dance: Peter Dinklage ‘must be the envy of every dwarf actor’

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Charles Dance is just one of those English actors. He works constantly. He shows up in TV shows and movies all the time and you’ve probably seen him in a million different things before you ever learned his name. He’s always been a great character actor, and I think he’s probably worked non-stop since he got a bit older. It’s sort of insane – he’s 68 years old and his IMDB page is crazy-long. Most Americans first put a name to his face when he took on the role of Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones. And much like Sean Bean and Pedro Pascal, Charles Dance welcomes GoT discussions and he seems to have really enjoyed his part in such a huge, cultural-phenomenon show. Charles is also doing press for his supporting part in The Imitation Game, but he’s spent most of his time talking about GoT. That’s what happens when a GoT person does press in America! We’re GoT-obsessed! You can read Dance’s full Daily Beast interview here – it’s a really interesting piece and he’s funny and rather sassy. He talks a bit about TIG, but the most interesting parts are about GoT.

Why he plays villains: “When you look at this face, it’s quite patrician the way it’s put together, and I have a demeanor that’s rather austere. So, interesting villain characters have come along and any actor will tell you that a villainous character is much more fun to play than a good guy.”

A possible GoT movie: “There’s talk of eventually trying to do a feature film, but I don’t know which of the storylines. There’s so much to cram into a film.”

On Alan Turing’s pardon: “There is an irony in that. Pardoned for what? Cracking the Enigma Code? The government should be asking the relatives of Alan Turing to pardon them for treating him so appallingly! It’s medieval, and disgusting. There are a few mad people around today who think you can ‘cure’ people of their sexuality, too.”

The Leveson Inquiry, being hacked by the British tabloids: “I had a call from the police who said, ‘Did you know that your number came up?’ and it made sense, because certain things would appear in papers and I’d think, ‘How the f–k did they know that?’”

His role in the cult favorite Aliens 3: “I think Alien 3 was a better film than Aliens, to be frank.”

The craziest thing he did for GoT was skin a real deer: “So, this butcher arrived with a dead animal and they gave me a little room to work in, gave me a sharp knife, and showed me how to skin it and spill the guts into a bucket. The next day, they gave me another dead animal, and we shot it. It was a bloody good time, but it took me two days to get the smell off my hands.”

Working with Peter Dinklage: “One of the biggest joys was working with Peter Dinklage. He’s the sweetest man, and a phenomenal actor. He must be the envy of every dwarf actor in the world because those parts don’t come along too often. He’s also extremely handsome. If you look at his head, it’s like Michelangelo’s David. And he’s such a great guy, too. I spent a lot of time apologizing to Peter because we play scenes where I treat him like sh-t, calling him a ‘lecherous little stump’ and saying I wanted to ‘carry you out to sea and let the waves take you away.’”

[From The Daily Beast]

I’ve read interviews with Dance before where he’s praised the hell out of Dinklage too, so I think that’s for real – Dance has a lot of love for Dinklage. But I do worry about Dance saying “He must be the envy of every dwarf actor…” Dinklage has said in the past that he doesn’t like the D-word and that many in the community think “dwarf” is a pejorative. I don’t know… is it rude to call Dinklage a “dwarf”?

Dance also went flawlessly into character, analyzing Tywin’s feelings for his children and how much Tywin must have secretly adored Tyrion all along. You can tell Dance really loved playing that character. It’s kind of cool.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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87 Responses to “Charles Dance: Peter Dinklage ‘must be the envy of every dwarf actor’”

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  1. Eleonor says:

    Oooh I so agree about the Alan Turing “pardon”. I’ve found it so hypocrite.
    It’ s like when the Church stated after all they were wrong about Galileo. 400 years later.
    The Queen was faster ?

  2. Des says:

    I was sharpening my pitchfork until I read the full quote. That’s all right then. Carry on. Toodle-oo.

  3. Abbott says:

    “He must be the envy of every dwarf actor…”

    If he just scratched out the “dwarf” part, it’d be accurate.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Right. It was a great role. Period.

    • Happyhat says:

      Except no. Granted, he may have considered using ‘little person’. But lets be realistic: little people actors are not considered for dramatic roles unless it’s fantasy or comedy side-kick. They just aren’t. If you are a little person, the roles open to you are slim. You cannot audition for a role based on your acting ability. You have to rely on, like I said above, pantomime season, fantasy and comedy side-kick. The role of Tyrion has gone a long way in proving to people (Hollywood) that height is not relevant to someone’s acting ability. Something that may be blatantly obvious to us, but not to people in Hollywood.

      • imp says:

        bless you for making this real comment and not being afraid to, i quite agree with you and do not think Dancer meant any harm nor do I feel Dinklage would take it with offense.

      • LadySlippers says:


        Dinklage himself uses the term ‘dwarf’ to describe himself. •Clucky• down thread posted an article, here’s another one.

      • Serenity says:

        Yes, that’s true. How often do you see dwarves/little people playing a substantial role in a movie? It’s quite rare. A good example involving Peter Dinklage’s role as Bolivar Trask in ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ comes to mind but that’s about it. Any others?

        PS: What makes it even better about the X-Men role is that in the comics etc, Bolivar Trask is not a midget/dwarf so Peter Dinklage got the part based on acting chops alone!

    • DenisePayne says:

      Yeah that was old British dude shade right there. Lol.

      He could still be steamed on account of Peter Dink lage’s character killing his character who was on the toilet taking a dump at the time.. it was a cold smelly way to go…he’s probably still miffed.

  4. Joanne_S says:

    I love that man. I just do.
    And I don’t believe for a second it was meant as a derogatory term. (Admittedly, he’d get a pass from me even if it was, but still)

    • jen2 says:

      Agree. Charles Dance is amazing. Loved him for years. I don’t think he meant it poorly either.

      I also like the way he describes himself, spot on (he exudes elegance, no matter who he portrays) and about Turing–perfect. He is just fab. If you have not had the privilege of hearing him read a passage from 50 Shades of Grey, you have not yet lived!!

      • Amelia says:

        Michelle Fairley loves him too, it’s quite funny; I was listening to one of the commentaries with the cast, and she had a cute little story of being completely starstruck by him whilst filming Hidden City.
        And what’s this about 50 Shades of Grey?? How did someone convince him to read that?

      • Joanne_S says:

        “If you have not had the privilege of hearing him read a passage from 50 Shades of Grey, you have not yet lived!!”

        Agree 100%. It was glorious!

        You’re welcome!

        Alright, if anyone needs me, I’ll be on the floo– *swoons*

      • jen2 says:

        @ amelia

        Not sure what the show was, but he is delicious.

      • Joanne_S says:


        *opens one eye*
        High five!

      • Amelia says:

        Well, nothing’s going to top that today, I might as well go back to bed!
        His voice – it’s like a fine wine, getting better with age. <3

      • xanonn says:

        His voice is a gift, pure gold ♡♡♡



        Have you seen The Witcher 3 trailer? Amazing!!

      • jen2 says:

        @Joanne_s: I think we hit send at the same time. It takes me awhile to find youtube entries, or I would have included it sooner. Thanks for getting it there as well. Two times is twice as nice.

      • Ella says:

        The show he read “50 Shades” on is the Big Fat Quiz of the Year from the UK … it’s always awesome and every year they have a respected dramatic actor read some trashy book like that. Look up other Big Fat Quiz episodes on Youtube – it’s funny and unpredictable and not like anything that would ever air on US television (there’s a lot of swearing, for one thing).

      • A mascarada says:

        Thanks Jen2 and Joanne_S for the links
        Never read 50 shades, but that was sublime *_*

  5. Lindy79 says:

    I always liked Alien 3. Granted when you see the more true to Finchers vision they released with the quadrilogy, it’s a much more cohesive film if only the studio had stopped dicking around with him and let him make it the way he wanted who know how it would have turned out.

  6. Sixer says:

    Dance’s death in GoT is a thing of Sixerland legend. Sixlet Minor has an unhappy habit of spending forever in the toilet (musing is done best there, according to him) and Sixlet Major frequently threatens to “do a Tywin” on him if he doesn’t hurry up.

    (BTW – he doesn’t look good in a wig, as I can testify, having just sat through a dire ITV drama on The Great Fire of London, which also featured Rose Leslie).

  7. mkyarwood says:

    He’s old. Old people tend to not use the new politically correct terms for things. He probably doesn’t remember that ‘little person’ is preferred. Mr. Dinklage was staying at the Minto in Yorkville this summer, filming some movie where he had a giant mullet. My parents were also staying there and, while my daughter and I were waiting in the lobby for my husband to bring the car up, HE CAME IN. I was smiling at him like an idiot, 9 months pregnant, but he smiled and said ‘hello’ I was about to say many things about how great his work is, when my sweet 5 year old opened her mouth to say ‘MOM. LOOK AT THE TINY MAN. HE NEEDS TO GROW UP.’ As my eyes blinked in stupefaction, he smiled again and didn’t say anything. I shook my head and said ‘No, honey, he is all man.’ WTF. Then he went to the elevator. Ugh. The End.

    • Eleonor says:

      Ooooh children !!!

    • Leftovers says:

      Is ‘little person’ really the preferred mode of address?

      I am 5’2″, so not a dwarf, but short. I would be pissed off if anyone addressed me as a little person. That sounds sanctimonious as all hell. If anything, the correct term should be the medical term for it – midget would strike me as far worse than dwarf, and ‘little person’ sounds ridiculous.

      By the way, not having a go at you, just at how, for all its apparently good intentions, PC language should die a death. Can’t say anything these days anymore.

      Also: cute story. 🙂

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        First of all, you think that’s a “cute story?” How do you think it made everyone feel?

        Next, being 5″2′ is not remotely the same experience as being a little person, so what on earth does it matter how YOU would feel if someone referred to you as that, as if they would. You are a perfectly normal height. You have no idea how it feels to be them.

        Midget and dwarf do not mean the same thing. Try Google.

        PC language is basically an attempt to find a way to express ourselves that takes other people’s feelings into consideration. To dispose of old expressions that hurt people. You should give it a try, along with thinking about someone other than yourself.

      • Erinn says:

        I’m 5’2″ as well… and I’d never assume I knew what an actual little person felt like. We’re not anywhere near that. It’s like comparing apples and oranges.

        And I agree with Goodnames. PC language wasn’t created to upset the people who like to flippantly toss words around. PC language was created to help those who are otherwise discriminated against, or talked down to, to feel like they’re on a more even ground, and hopefully not spending every day dealing with offensive names or terms, or what have you.

      • Leftovers says:

        I meant awkward, don’t know why I typed cute – possibly too much on my mind.

        Perhaps we have very different life experiences, but at 5’2″ I get called “shorty” all the time, and very often somebody thinks it is ok to call me “vertically challenged” or even go there to dwarf territory.

        I wasn’t pretending that that is the same that people with actual dwarfism or other height-related conditions have, nor was that my point. I am merely sharing my experience, and I still don’t see how being called a “little person” is any better than the actual medical term for whatever the condition is. I find it condescending, my opinion.

      • Pamela says:

        To me, the key to the term “little person” is the PERSON part. It is a way of acknowledging that Peter Dinklage (and others with his condition) are simply people that are much smaller than average.

        The words “midget” and “dwarf” have an otherness about them. I don’t pretend to know if that is why it is the way they prefer to self-identify as little people, but the other terms sort of make it sound like they are different than “average height” humans. They aren’t, other than the fact that their size affects their ability to do some things and if I understand correctly, many (all?) of them have some health issues that go along with this condition.

      • Sixer says:

        Leftovers: being called a little person is better because it’s what little people wish to be called. How can you not see that? What IS condescending and patronising is the assumption that you (generic you, not you personally) can declare that another person’s choice of term FOR THEMSELVES is condescending to them.

      • Leftovers says:

        Hi Sixer, that’s an excellent point and I fully agree with you – every person should be treated as they wish to be treated. I still don’t like the term, but in no way am I assuming this is condescending for them.

        I was reading this inwardly, and so drawing on my own dislike for the word “little”. I think that’s what really annoys me the most. If it is a question of height, I would probably have gone for “short person”, but I have no bones to pick.

        It’s good to have read so much feedback and different opinions, though.

      • Sixer says:

        Leftovers: ah, yes. That is easy to do and without realising – I’m sure I’m guilty myself in other areas. The world would be a better place if we all automatically saw the other person’s experience before thinking of our own, wouldn’t it? We can strive for that, but I doubt we’ll ever be 100% successful!

      • mkyarwood says:

        To be perfectly honest, I have no idea! The last I heard, it was little person, but maybe it has changed…

      • mayamae says:

        Yes, “little people” is what they prefer to be called. And they refer to the rest of us as “average height”, rather than normal.

        Midget is a highly derogatory word stemming from a time that little people were sideshow freaks and carnival attractions. Perhaps they dislike the term dwarf as it is a mythological creature.

      • Ange says:

        In my old life working with athletes with disabilities the preferred international nomenclature was ‘short stature’ and you always highlighted the person first, as in ‘such and such is an athlete of short stature.’ It was clinical but necessary as athletes had to compete in their classes so we had to identify them. I always liked it though as it was ‘person/identifier/disability’ – making the disability the least highlighted thing about them.

    • Sixer says:

      These are two different things. Midget = normal proportions but very short. Dwarf = person with dwarfism.

      Midget has been seen as a derogatory term for a long time now. Dwarf is increasingly seen as a derogatory term.

      People should be referred to as they prefer to self-identify and as a majority of people with dwarfism prefer to identify as little people, that’s what polite people should call them.

      (Not slating Dance: he’s old, he clearly adores Dinklage, etc etc).

      • embertine says:

        It is partly cultural. Dance is British, and over here ‘dwarf’ is generally considered the acceptable term for people with achondroplasia (non-proportional dwarfism). Some people would be aghast at being called a ‘little person’; British people generally have a horror of anything twee, and to my ears it sounds like you’re calling them cutesy little pixies! *shudders* But I agree, it’s how the individual person chooses to identify, and isn’t really anything to do with us great gallumphing tall folk at all.

      • SamiHami says:

        Words only have the power and meaning we give them. Midget and dwarf have been perfectly benign words for a very long time. But now they are suddenly derogatory and I truly don’t understand why that is. What changed? In a few years is “little person” going to be considered derogatory? What next? Political correctness seems to be continuing to run amok.

      • Erinn says:

        “Midget and dwarf have been perfectly benign words for a very long time. But now they are suddenly derogatory and I truly don’t understand why that is. ”

        Well, seeing as you’re probably not a little person, that’s why you don’t get it. You don’t have to get it. You just have to be respectful. If little person becomes derogatory, that’s up to them to decide, not you or me.

      • Linn says:

        It’s easy to complain about (too much) PC if you’re not directly involved.

        Peter Dinklage does not like being adressed as a dwarf and we should accept it. What do we lose if we do not use words that hurt other people.

      • Sixer says:

        Embertine: I’m British. And I know that, increasingly, people with dwarfism prefer the term little people. As that’s the case, it’s the term I use. British people are also renowned for good manners, you know? But I do agree that it’s highly unlikely Dance was being disrespectful or deliberately rude.

      • Chris2 says:

        If we need a visual example, see the early scene in ‘In Bruges’ where Colin Farrell’s chatting up Clémence Poèsie, rabbitting on about ‘midgets and dwarves’ only to be gently corrected to ‘little people’, upon which he declares that unwelcome terminology’s what he was talking about all along…..good swerve! Excellent scene.
        (And in Harry Potter interviews the little people all employ this term, and that’s all we need as a guide.)
        • Sixer….. Agree with your every word, as ever.

      • mayamae says:

        @SamiHami, people used the term “mongoloid” for years to refer to someone with Down Syndrome, but most of us know not to use that word now, regardless of how benign it began. “Words only have the power and meaning we give them”, is a nice concept but rarely true.

      • Lex says:

        Little people don’t all get together in a club and decide what titles they prefer. What works for some will not work for all. It’s not great to be saying they all prefer this or that; the only thing they all have in common is their height so why would they necessarily all prefer one name? Why not just refer to them as human beings and leave height out of it

    • Pamela says:

      “I shook my head and said ‘No, honey, he is all man.’ WTF. Then he went to the elevator. Ugh. The End”

      You win the award for best reply to a child’s awkward musings.

      Had that been me I would have been too stunned by his presence to say anything.

    • Sara says:

      its sucks, but im sure Peter understands how children have yet to learn it. reminded me of going to the market with my niece a couple of weeks ago. an elderly lady was smitten with her cuteness and beamed at her, my niece smiled back. wonderful moment. then my niece asked “so, are you going to heaven soon?”

  8. dwarf says:

    “Is it rude to call dinklage a dwarf?” LOL He’s indeed a dwarf, a midget, so 😴

    • funny writer says:

      LOL My question is “Is the writer a dwarf as well?” Lol face it wisely in peace bc it’s the truth. As his character said “Dont forget who you are, bc the rest of the world will not, wear it like an armor so bla bla bla 😆

  9. GlimmerBunny says:

    I think he’s the best casting GoT has ever done. He IS Tywin Lannister from the books in every way. I also think he was one of the best actors (Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Iwan Rheon and Maisie Williams are amazing too) on the show. I’ll miss him so much next season.

  10. black orchid, says:

    i believe he is the envy of all actors ,be it a dwarf in GOT or a scientist in X men ,he is simply brilliant!!

  11. OriginalTessa says:

    Peter has Achodroplasia, a form of dwarfism. He is a dwarf. It’s a medical term, a clinical term…

  12. Knels says:

    Dwarfism is a medical term. Why would “dwarf” therefore be pejorative?

    Language is such a minefield these days.

    • funny writer says:

      Because the writer is also a dwarf or dwarves’ worshiper

    • serena says:

      Agree, I’m never rude to people but I’m afraid I’d be since so many bans pop out everyday and I can’t keep track of them all.

    • Mel M says:

      R—– is still a medical term used by some but it is also extremely offensive to many now because of how society has turned it into a very negative pejorative word. People use it as an insult everyday so that’s how a word that was once used and accepted can turn into a pejorative word just like dwarf or midget.

    • mayamae says:

      @Knels – Fetus is a medical term, but I assume you don’t ask your pregnant friends how their fetuses are coming along. I bet you also don’t ask them about their “geriatric” pregnancy if they’re 35 or older. I imagine when their baby is born, you don’t ask them about their neonate. You catch my drift. Medical terms are very cold and detached. Most of us don’t want to be identified by them.

  13. Clucky says:

    “I don’t like people being cautious and tentative and choosing their words carefully around me because I’m a dwarf. There are a lot of people in a lot worse shape than me. I’m 4’5″ and it’s part of who I am, just not the whole part. I guess the word to call me is my name, Pete.”


    • LadySlippers says:


      Thanks for this. I was fairly certain he had called himself a dwarf before this interview — I was too lazy to do the research! 😊

  14. K says:

    Dinklage gets those roles because he’s a phenomenal actor with a very expressive face. If anyone is envious, it’s because they lack his talent. Pretty sure “dwarf” is pejorative in the US, but maybe it’s acceptable in the UK.

  15. Ginger says:

    I’ve loved Peter so much ever since I saw the Station Agent. I’m so glad that he’s finally getting recognition for being a great actor, period. His stature does not matter. And I do think he’s handsome. I recall a story about him saying Peter got more play in college than all of his buddies combined.

  16. Sparkly says:

    I get what he was saying, though, and I think he meant more about the parts available to little people or people with dwarfism than as an insult to Peter. Even in GoT, Tyrion is the BEST role in the show (okay, arguably, but it totally is). The other roles available to little people were those awful wedding-farce roles mocking them. Too often in movies today, those roles are extremely one-dimensional comic relief, like Mini-Me or Santa’s elves, and that’s really got to be frustrating for the actors.

    That said, intention isn’t magic and all that, but I’m inclined to give him a pass since he’s older gen and Peter’s character is constantly referred to as a “dwarf” on the show.

  17. bored_01 says:

    Dwarf is not considered an offensive term, just a medical descriptor, but the preferred term is little people. Midget is considered deeply offensive.

    • S says:

      I came to say the same thing. I had a TA in college who was a little person, and he cleared this issue up right off the bat for all of us in his class.

  18. j.eyre says:

    Lord, if we are going to see an increase of Charles Dance on this site, I am going to re-up my membership. I find this man magnificent.

    • LadySlippers says:

      •Miss Eyre•

      Do you like him enough to leave Mr Rochester???? Or just a dalliance while Mr Rochester’s head is turned?

      • j.eyre says:

        Mr. Rochester’s blindness doesn’t always necessitate him to turn his head in these matters.

        No, there will be never be anyone I am willing to give up Thornfield over. Fortunately, in the case of Mr. Dance here, Mr. Rochester would give me a hearty thumb’s up for my good taste… you know, with the one remaining thumb he has left.

      • LadySlippers says:

        •Miss Eyre•

        True. Thornfield is a wonder and hard to replicate. I mentioned Mr Rochester turning his head, with the assumption it meant he was pre-occupied. I could have sworn you said that since his terrible accident his hearing was most attuned, no?

        Mr Rochester’s devotion to you is legendary. *sigh* You get away with murder and as long as you dote on him — he turns the other cheek. That’s almost as enviable as your digs…

  19. Murphy says:

    He should have said “little person” and the comment would have been flagged anyway.

    But lets face it-he’s right. He’s the #1 Little Person in Hollywood, the only one that even comes close is Dr. Jen Arnold and she’s not even an actress.

  20. aenflex says:

    PD should be the envy of every actor. I don’t even see him as a little person. He’s so big. I adore him.

  21. Veronica says:

    Dinklage should be the envy of most actors, period. He’s been great in everything I’ve seen him in, and it makes me sad that Hollywood/media portrayals are so restrictive that actors like him don’t get more work. (So handsome, too! He’d be a leading man in a different world.)

  22. Likey says:

    He was also in Alien 3. Great actor. Peter Dinklage is also a good actor but from one of his interviews, he isn’t too happy about the fact of his dwarfism and this probably won’t go down too well with him. A bit of an brain f@rt for Dance there.

  23. Brionne says:

    Dare I say Tywin Lannister looks great in a scarf

  24. rewind says:

    I really get a kick out when I realize most of peter dinklage’s fans are dwarves as well. LOL xD

  25. rtu says:


  26. blah says:

    From Little People of America’s FAQ online:

    Q: What is a midget?

    A: In some circles, a midget is the term used for a proportionate dwarf. However, the term has fallen into disfavor and is considered offensive by most people of short stature. The term dates back to 1865, the height of the “freak show” era, and was generally applied only to short-statured persons who were displayed for public amusement, which is why it is considered so unacceptable today.

    Such terms as dwarf, little person, LP, and person of short stature are all acceptable, but most people would rather be referred to by their name than by a label.