He may have amassed a global fanbase as the quick-witted yet tormented Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones. Yet there is so much more to Peter Dinklage, as our blog round-up of his best movie roles reveals.
Very soon, Dinklage will return to the big screen in Cyrano, a musical adaptation of the classic romantic tale Cyrano de Bergerac. Dinklage plays the title role, a poet pining for his apparently impossible love Roxanne (Haley Bennett). Realising how difficult it is to express his ardour, Cyrano enlists another man, soldier Christian (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), to share Cyrano's poetry with his unsuspecting paramour. But will this, in fact, cause Cyrano to become even more broken-hearted?
Directed by Darkest Hour's Joe Wright, the movie promises to be a romantic and warm-hearted treat. In anticipation, here are Dinklage's seven best roles outside the realm of Game of Thrones.
1. The Station Agent (2003)
Dinklage's breakout performance fuels this utterly charming indie drama about an ostracized man who simply can't leave society behind, no matter how hard he tries. Dinklage portrays the melancholic railway enthusiast Finbar McBride who comes into possession of an apparently isolated railway station. Fed up of being decried for his dwarfism, McBride wants to be left alone, but that's when he comes into contact with chatty snack vendor Joe (Bobby Cannavale) and introspective artist Olivia (Patricia Clarkson). The chemistry between the three leads is terrific, a cross-spectrum of surly, gregarious and guarded, and the film's quiet message of acceptance is allowed to steadily creep up on the audience without ever being sanctimonious. The movie was an early critical and commercial hit for writer-director Tom McCarthy who would land a major artistic achievement with the Boston Globe exposé drama Spotlight.
2. Elf (2003)
Dinklage only makes a single appearance in Jon Favreau's popular Christmas hit, but the actor almost steals the entire movie. As the intimidating and snappish children's author Miles Finch, Dinklage gamely sends himself up for a laugh as Favreau neatly skirts the obviously crass potential in exploiting Dinklage's height. The laughs really start when Will Ferrell's clueless man-raised-as-an-elf Buddy mistakenly perceives Miles as an actual Christmas dwarf. Favreau's staging of the subsequent boardroom showdown is well worth the build-up, and allows us one of the earliest glimpses of the Ferrell 'man-child' persona that he would liberally deploy in every comedy movie thereafter.
3. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
There have been a lot of memorable villains in the X-Men movies, but only one has come close to wiping out the mutant fraternity entirely. Step forward weapons expert Bolivar Trask, nicely underplayed in wry and cerebral fashion by Dinklage. In the 1970s, Trask develops his mutant-killing Sentinel programme, and in the future, the surviving X-Men are horrified to see his plans on the verge of coming to fruition. There's only one solution: send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time to help undo the tide of history, with the assistance of young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender). It's a starry ensemble that fronts a lavishly exciting and head-spinning narrative, but Dinklage's plausible villain somehow manages to steal the show.
4. The Angry Birds Movie (2016)
No good movies based on video games? The Angry Birds Movie would beg to differ. (OK, OK, it's technically an app, but still.) The fiendishly addictive Rovio gamer translated onto the big screen surprisingly well, buoyed by a strong voice cast and some peppy CGI animation that effectively realised the fractious world of the birds and the pigs. Dinklage, as ever, threatens to steal the entire show, this time without ever showing his face on screen. He voices Mighty Eagle, the last remaining incumbent of Bird Island who can fly, and he's a mixture of surly laughs and pathos. Following the movie's unexpected box office success, The Angry Birds Movie 2 arrived in 2019, with Dinklage returning to voice the character.
5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2018)
"Penelope said begets?" It takes a special actor to steal a star-studded and verbally dexterous movie with just three inquisitive words, but Dinklage manages it. In Martin McDonagh's coal-black critique of small-town American mores, a vengeful mother attempts to spur the police into action after they fail to apprehend the individual who murdered her daughter. Said mother is played by a firebrand, Oscar-winning Frances McDormand, but it's not just her show. From Woody Harrelson's sympathetic, cancer-ridden Sheriff to Sam Rockwell as his despicably racist, but ultimately redeemed, deputy, it's a movie stuffed with memorable performances and acerbic lines too strong to print here. Even so, Dinklage's grounded portrayal of McDormand's wannabe suitor, a man who knows that this love match isn't going anywhere fast, strikes relatable notes of hilarity and sympathy.
6. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Many actors have come and gone throughout the course of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and Dinklage is one of them. Did you forget that he turned up in the first part of the Infinity Saga, Avengers: Infinity War? If so, shame on you – his character Eitri plays a critical role in restoring the mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) to his former glory. Eitri is a legendary weaponsmith and the fabled King of the Dwarves of Nidavellir, so he's well-positioned to help Thor sculpt the all-powerful battle axe Stormbreaker, which the God of Thunder needs to confront the forces of Thanos (Josh Brolin). To create Stormbreaker, Thor, along with Groot, must employ Eitri's gargantuan forge, and the broiling choral forces on Alan Silvestri's score anticipate Thor's explosively spectacular arrival on the battlefields of Wakanda. In typical Marvel fashion, Dinklage gets a wry comic aside that punctuates the portent, as we glimpse the mighty Thor absorbing the power of an entire star.
7. I Care a Lot (2020)
This overlooked but wickedly entertaining black comedy showcases a memorable performance from Rosamund Pike and a menacing one from Dinklage. Pike plays a serial con artist who gets in over her head with Dinklage's gangster figure; this, after she fleeces a woman while in the guise of acting as her guardian. Bad move: the woman in question is the mother of Dinklage's mobster, and the ensuing web of betrayals and ironies is effectively stitched together by writer/director J. Blakeson. The sucker punch ending is among many aspects of a darkly comic movie that highlights the impressive versatility of its two stars.