One of the more interesting film releases of the Fall isn’t happening in cinemas, it’s on HBO with the biopic “My Dinner with Herve” about the late “Fantasy Island” and “The Man with the Golden Gun” actor Herve Villechiaze.
“Game of Thrones” star Peter Dinklage takes on the role of the most famous dwarf actor of the 1970s in the story of his a unique friendship with a reporter (played by Jamie Dornan). The project’s first trailer released last week with Dinklage adopting Villechiaze’s memorable voice and accent – and soon the project was quickly slammed on social media with cries of whitewashing.
Why? Well there’s the widespread belief Villechiaze was half-Filipino, quite different heritage to the very caucasian Dinklage, so some have said he shouldn’t have the right to portray the actor. In a new interview with EW though, Dinklage quite successfully dismantles the backlash and throws in a warning to those who only get their facts from Wikipedia:
“The internet is the best thing and the worst thing. The funny thing about the backlash is it addresses what we address in the film about not judging a book by its cover. Herve was judged by how he looked, and cast and perceived to be who he is accordingly.
It says [Villechiaze was half-Filipino] on Wikipedia. Family members can’t change information on there. My daughter’s name was ‘Zelig’ on Wikipedia for a long time. Her name is not Zelig. I don’t know who is able to put information up, but there are so many things on there that aren’t true.
There’s this term ‘whitewashing.’ I completely understand that. But Herve wasn’t Filipino. Dwarfism manifests physically in many different ways. I have a very different type of dwarfism than Hervé had. 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. They kind of don’t have any information.
This [movie] isn’t ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s.’ Personally, I would never do that, and I haven’t done that, because he wasn’t. People are jumping to conclusions based on a man’s appearance alone and that saddens me.”
“My Dinner with Herve” is slated to air HBO on October 20th.