Little Person Actors: Is it demeaning to play leprechauns?

The New Hampshire Lottery has a couple of ads for scratcher tickets featuring a little person playing the part of a leprechaun, with the buckled hat, green waistcoat and red neckbeard,

Now, as lottery ads go, its not bad, but in this day and age, isn’t using little persons to play leprechauns a little demeaning? I’m sure it is good work for actors with otherwise limited opportunities, but I always feel a little uncomfortable watching them.

Anybody else feel that way?

Do you think they should use kids instead?

For your consideration, I humbly submit this scene from the excellent Steve Buscemi film Living In Oblivion. (NSFW language)

This reminds me of the scene in “This Is Spinaltap” ; where the leprechauns are dancing around the miniature Stonehenge.:smiley:

So funny. I laugh so hard everytime I watch that scene.

I suppose if a six-foot-tall actor was worth his salt, he could make you really believe he was a leprechaun.

If you ask the (potential) actors, some might be offended, some might happily do the job. There was a minor news story where a woman who played one of Miley’s bears felt uncomfortable and that it was a spectacle, although I wonder how many people paid attention to the background dancers.

Yes, my first thought was Dinklage’s first role, from 19 (!) years ago. But a leprechaun is at least associated with luck (as long as they don’t screw you over in some versions). Hiring a dwarf for a dream sequence “just because” is somewhat different. That doesn’t mean that someone else would take the role.

All 6 of the actors playing the major Hobbitses (both Bilbos) are in the 5’6"-5’7" range.

Peter Dinklage’s film debut, btw. Great movie!

I think it’s up to the specific little person and not up to everyone else. From time to tome you’ll hear about an Irish Restaurant who hires a little person to dress up as a leprechaun or even a Mexican restaurant that hires a little person to walk around with a sombrero with chips and dip in it and some people will get insulted for him and eventually they’ll have to fire him. Even though he was okay with and even enjoyed his job, a small group of people got the media involved and now he has to go out and try to find something else to do.

As for people who think it’s degrading, they should get a life

Hmmm, I thought there was more, I guess I just remember this one so well since it happened nearby and the guy was a radio personality on the station I listened to at the time so when he started feeling the pressure we all heard about it and his response was that they should just leave him be, he didn’t need anyone to stand up for him because he didn’t feel degraded, he liked his job.

If that guy didn’t want to be in an Irish themed lotto ad he shouldn’t have tried out for it, simple as that. Just like strippers who say it’s the only way they can pay for school or bartenders who say the ONLY job they can find is one where they have to spend 50 hours a week inhaling second hand smoke. Maybe it’s where you make the most money, but surely it’s not the ONLY job you can find.

As long as they’re doing it voluntarily, I don’t see why there’s any problem. Nobody gets their panties in a bunch about the grown man in the sandwich costume standing outside of Quizno’s, which is arguably the considerably more degrading job.

Folklore says leprechauns are short. Why on earth would it be demeaning to hire a short person to play the role of a short person? We hire black people to play the role of black people, strong macho dudes to play the role of strong macho dudes, and mentally retarded dudes to play the role of mentally retarded dudes. Hercules in New York was a terrible movie, but nobody these days expresses regret that a very strong man (Schwarzenegger) was cast in the role of Hercules.

If you’re a casting agent, your job is to find people whose physical attributes are well-suited to the role they are expected to play. It would be weird if Yao Ming were hired to play a leprechaun.

FWIW, people were pretty up in arms when some of the Japanese characters in Memoirs of a Geisha went to actresses who weren’t Japanese.

Then there’s goblins, aliens, Ewoks, Munchkins, eh, it’s a living. Too bad that some liitle people discover that’s the only roles they can get, I’ve seen some fine actors that are little people. Warwick Davis comes to mind, the first role I saw him in was Willow. At least in that fantasy he go to play a family man, a real person whose people just happened to be short.

But little people are doctors, lawyers, shudderIRS agents, and so on. It’s whatever you want to do.

Warwick made a good bit of money playing a leprechaun. So he doesn’t seem to find it demeaning.

This kind of thinking shut down the wonderful world of circus freaks. There aren’t many left who remember losing their jobs but those who do call the people who robbed them of a way of life do-gooders. And the tone they use when they do so doesn’t imply gratitude.

If a person is of sound mind I think it’s best and healthiest for us to allow them to make their own choices. For a matter of fact it could actually be demeaning to assume to speak in offense for other people and implies a social/communication disability on their part.

This isn’t just true for people of other shapes and sizes. It’s also true for people of different age groups (beyond age of consent), cultures and habits. If it’s not illegal, support people in their choices.

The second sentence doesn’t necessarily follow the first.

You could easily change that to: Susie made a good bit of money stripping/hooking/cleaning up puke at a hospital/housekeeping for rich people/etc. So she doesn’t seem to find it demeaning.

I’m not saying that that actor DID find it demeaning, I’m just saying that you can’t say that someone didn’t feel demeaned just because they made a lot of money. Some people just do what pays the most and toss pride out the window.

And they have every right to make that choice.

They tried that in The Santa Clause. Turns out there’s a rather small pool of quality child actors available, although the elves were pretty darn cute.

I am reminded of Warwick Davis’ wonderful TV series Life’s Too Short. He plays himself (sort of). I urge everyone to watch it if you haven’t already.

The most recent role I saw Warwick Davis in was playing the emperor of a galaxy. Who just happened to be very short. He can and does get parts other than that of a leprechaun. Being a leprechaun bought him enough name recognition he can use it to get other parts. Is that entirely a bad thing?

I only wish he could get more of them, I do like him as an actor, particularly when he’s not buried latex.

AskDeep Roy. who played every Oompa-Loompa in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Got a million clams for doing it. Something tells me he didn’t feel demeaned.