Dwarves in serious roles

Another thread linked a video to The Safety Dance that features a dwarf jester. Seems like dwarves are either jesters, guys in suits (Sid & Marty Kroft roles), evil geniuses (Dr. Loveless), sidekicks (Tattoo, Nick Nack), sideshow freaks, or some sort of bizarre dream-image character.

Have there been any serious films (drama, crime drama, etc. – not comedies) where the lead has been played by a dwarf?

Although I did not see it, I believe The Station Agent meets your criteria.


Time Bandits.

Tip toes, is about a midget, but played by Gary Oldman, a full-sized dude. I think it still counts, though.

The Station Agent was very good.

Tiptoes was an okay movie, starring Gary Oldman playing a dwarf. Peter Dinklage, the star of Station Agent, is in this one too, along with several other dwarf actors.

I can’t answer your question (at least, I can’t think of a non-comedy/fantasy which had a dwarf in a ‘normal’ role) but this thread immediately brough up the Nick/Tito exchange from Living With Oblivion where director Nick is trying to coach Tito (a dwarf) through some sterotypical “dream sequence” stuff.

Find me Guilty (with the same little person from The Station Agent). Both good movies.

Not the lead role, but Peter Dinklage proved his acting chops once more in Death At A Funeral.

David Rappaport guest-starred as ruthless attorney who wasn’t above using his dwarfism to influence the jury on a few episodes of “LA Law” in the 80s. It wasn’t a leading role, but it was a serious one.

I third The Station Agent. A great movie all around.

While not technically a dwarf, Corky Hubbert frequently played “little people” (e.g. lead Munchkin in “Under the Rainbow”). He played a very serious character in “The Ballad of the Sad Cafe”. Co-starring with Vanessa Redgrave, Keith Carradine, and Rod Steiger isn’t too bad.

He could also be quite serious in real life. I once saw him almost tear into a raving street preacher (Holy Hubert I think) waaay back when. The preacher made a nasty comment about the size and contents of Corky’s heart.

Does Danny DeVito count?

Time Bandits? A troupe of Little People who happen to be (at least somewhat) wack-jobs doesn’t quite fit. I’ve only seen Willow once, when it came out, so I don’t remember that one.

Jophiel: I have that somewhere. It’s been years since I’ve watched it. I’ll have to see it again.

Never watched the show, but it does sound like what I was getting at.

I’ll have to see The Station Agent.

How short do you have to be to qualify as a dwarf, anyway?

I believe Danny DeVito is 5’ 0", BTW.

In the HBO series Carnivale a dwarf, played by Michael J. Anderson, was the carnival manager (Samson) and allaround “guy who knows things.” A major role and a serious one. Actually, looking at his IMDB page, few of his roles have been comical.

I’ve been wanting to see The Station Agent ever since I saw Peter Dinklage in reruns of the TV show Threshold, where he played a computer expert. He’s supposed to be starring in a movie based on George Cheesbro’s books, playing a dwarf detective.

I forgot about Carnivale.

I don’t believe he does:

Dwarfism refers to a condition of extreme small size of a person, animal, or plant. Any type of marked human smallness could be termed dwarfism in older popular and medical usage. Currently, in both general and technical usage, the term as related to human beings (the major subject of this article) is restricted to those forms of extreme shortness characterized by disproportion of body parts, typically due to an inheritable disorder in bone or cartilage development.

In contrast, those forms of shortness characterized by proportional body parts usually have a hormonal or nutritional cause. An example is growth hormone deficiency, which was once called “Pituitary dwarfism”. According to current usage, proportional shortness, even when severe, is no longer referred to as “dwarfism”.[sup][1][/sup]

Does the character of Mickey, on “Seinfeld,” count? I mean, there were some funny moments that resulted from his being a dwarf (the plot that revolved around him being a stand in for a little kid, the time he and Kramer got into a physical altercation when Kramer was wearing stiff pants and couldn’t sit down), but it was a comedy. I don’t think it was too different from them making jokes about Newman being fat, or George being short/bald.

Well, the movie Freaks was a serious drama, where the lead character was a sensitive, dignified and honourable human being, who just happens to work in a sideshow. And the “normal” people are evil money grubbers, who are the real freaks.

does R2D2 count?