Most people might not think of Peter Dinklage as a big-screen leading man. After all, most of his movie roles — in hits such as Elf, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Avengers: Infinity War — have been in a supporting capacity. However, Dinklage has carried such movies as The Station Agent to great effect. And he’s getting rave reviews for his lead performance in Cyrano. Still, he wasn’t convinced he wanted to play the role at first.
Peter Dinklage stars in the new movie, ‘Cyrano’
Directed by Joe Wright (Atonement), Cyrano is a film adaptation of a stage musical created by Dinklage’s wife, writer Erica Schmidt. However, that production is itself an adaptation of the classic 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. The story follows an insecure man who woos a woman with the help of another man.
The original play has been the basis for many other movies, including the 1987 Steve Martin comedy Roxanne and 2018 Netflix movie Sierra Burgess Is a Loser. Sometimes, the reason for Cyrano’s insecurity is altered to fit a contemporary setting or a different style of storytelling. And it was this aspect of Cyrano about which Dinklage initially hesitated.
The actor’s height steps in for the character’s nose
Traditionally, as in the original play, Cyrano is insecure because he has a comically oversized nose. However, Dinklage wasn’t interested in wearing a prosthetic nose to star in the new movie. In fact, he wasn’t even sold on starring in the stage production until he hashed off that detail, he told Variety’s Stagecraft podcast.
“It didn’t really speak to me. It was very theatrical, and it was all about a guy and a nose. And inevitably the nose was a fake nose, and [the role] was played by a handsome actor… I always thought, ‘What’s the big deal? It’s just a handsome actor in a fake nose. He gets to take it off after each show.’”
Schmidt’s adaptation did away with this aspect of the character. With Dinklage in the role, the actor’s height is able to step in as the reason for his insecurity in wooing Roxanne, played in the film by Haley Bennett. Now Cyrano has, according to Dinklage, the same heart and vulnerability because he “doesn’t know what to do in the face of love.”
Will ‘Cyrano’ make Peter Dinklage an Oscar nominee?
Dinklage rarely gets the chance to create as developed a movie character as Cyrano. But following his award-winning role on Game of Thrones, the actor has a whole new fan base to follow him into theaters. So it’s notable that Cyrano just might be one of the most successful roles he’s ever played.
Even if the movie doesn’t become a blockbuster, Dinklage is on track for some awards buzz. He already earned a Golden Globe nod for Cyrano, which also landed a Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy nomination. Could Dinklage land his first Oscar nomination for the movie? Only time will tell.
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