Peter Dinklage defends casting after whitewashing claims

Peter Dinklage. Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

Aug. 30 (UPI) — Peter Dinklage is defending his casting in a new HBO movie following claims of whitewashing.

The 49-year-old British actor spoke out in an interview with Entertainment Weekly after some objected to him playing Hervé Villechaize in the film “My Dinner with Hervé” based on the assumption Villechaize was half-Filipino.

“The funny thing about the backlash is it addresses what we address in the film about not judging a book by its cover,” Dinklage said in response.

“It says [Villechaize was half-Filipino] on Wikipedia. Family members can’t change information on there,” he explained. “I don’t know who is able to put information up, but there are so many things on there that aren’t true.”

The “Game of Thrones” star said Villechaize, an actor known for the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun” and the TV series “Fantasy Island,” did not have Filipino heritage.

“I’ve met his brother and other members of his family. He was French, and of German and English descent. So it’s strange these people are saying he’s Filipino,” Dinklage said.

“He has a very unique face and people have to be very careful about this stuff,” he advised. “People are jumping to conclusions based on a man’s appearance alone and that saddens me.”

Villechaize, who had dwarfism, died of suicide at age 50 in 1993. Dinklage said he hopes the movie will bring Villechaize’s “complicated” story to light and challenge people’s assumptions.

“I love finding stuff out about somebody I assumed was one thing and they weren’t at all. It sheds light on somebody and challenges your assumptions,” he said.

“My Dinner with Hervé” co-stars Jamie Dornan and premieres Oct. 20 on HBO. The network released a sneak peek at the film last week.


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