A large part of the phenomenon of Game of Thrones, the fantasy series on HBO, can be credited to Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion, one of the series’ major characters, a role for which Dinklage was awarded an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
But it took many years for Dinklage to land such a major role, and the 42 year-old actor spoke to The New York Times about his recent success and how he views it in comparison to his early life as a starving artist.
Though Dinklage stars in Game of Thrones, which is based on the novels series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, he admits that he had only read the first book, A Game of Thrones. Though Dinklage enjoys the surprise of getting each new script for the HBO series, he believes it was necessary for him to at least read through the first book to learn about his character. He explains, “I need to know the back story, obviously, to figure out who this guy is. But the . . . front story? Is that even a word?”
Though he feels proud of his recent success, he struggles with his feelings about it, since it is difficult enough to become a success in Hollywood for actors who aren’t four-foot-five. He points out, “I feel really lucky, although I hate that word — ‘lucky.’ It cheapens a lot of hard work. Living in Brooklyn in an apartment without any heat and paying for dinner at the bodega with dimes — I don’t think I felt myself lucky back then. Doing plays for 50 bucks and trying to be true to myself as an artist and turning down commercials where they wanted a leprechaun. Saying I was lucky negates the hard work I put in and spits on that guy who’s freezing his ass off back in Brooklyn. So I won’t say I’m lucky. I’m fortunate enough to find or attract very talented people. For some reason I found them, and they found me.”
Game of Thrones airs on Sunday nights on HBO