Peter Dinklage has hit back at claims that his new film My Dinner with Herve has whitewashed Herve Villechaize.
The Game of Thrones star portrays the Fantasy Island actor in an upcoming HBO movie, while Jamie Dornan plays a journalist who interviewed Villechaize shortly before he committed suicide at the age of 50 in 1993.
However, there has been some criticism over Dinklage’s casting after a reporter recently alleged that Villechaize had Filipino heritage. But, contrary to popular belief, the Emmy Award winner has insisted this was not the case.
“Herve wasn’t Filipino,” Dinklage explained in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “Dwarfism manifests physically in many different ways. I have a very different type of dwarfism than Herve had. I’ve met his brother and other members of his family. He was French, and of German and English descent.”
He added that while those who accuse the film of whitewashing “think they’re doing the right thing politically and morally,” in reality, they are “judging and assuming what he is ethnically” based on his looks alone.
Editors at IndieWire have reported that HBO president Casey Bloys also rejected the allegation, agreeing that Villechaize’s brother confirmed that they were not Filipino.
And while he had considered the issue of race, the executive asserted that it was Dinklage’s “passion project” to dramatise Villechaize’s life.
“I don’t think anyone like him has really been humanised like that (onscreen) before… having gone through this experience of acting in Hollywood (and how it) takes a toll,” he said at the Television Critics Association press tour.
Villechaize achieved worldwide recognition for various roles, including his portrayal of evil henchman Nick Nack in the 1974 James Bond film, The Man with the Golden Gun.
My Dinner with Herve, which Dinklage is also producing, is scheduled for release in the U.S. on 20 October (18).
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