The actor on his character in Pixels and trying new genres to break the stereotype
Peter Dinklage seems to be on a war-waging spree. The actor, famous for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister in the Game of Thrones, has fought a demon in Knights of Badassdom and mutants in X-Men – Days of the Future Past. The actor will now be seen as Eddie or the “The Fire Blaster”, fighting aliens in his latest sci-fi comedy, Pixels. Interestingly, his character’s physical appearance and personality—right down to his mullet hair cut—is styled after the famous video gamer, Billy Mitchell, who achieved the first perfect score in Pac-Man in 1999. Dinklage shot to fame with his film The Station Agent in 2003 and won the Emmy and a Golden Globe for his portrayal in Game of Thrones. The 46-year-old has a packed calendar with comedy flick Michelle Darnell and the Angry Birds Movie, where he plays the mighty eagle, scheduled to release next year. He gets talking about being Eddie in Pixels.
Your character, Eddie ‘The Fire Blaster’ looks a bit like an ’80s rockstar.
I don’t think he looks like a rock star. I think he thinks that he looks like a rock star. He has quite a large ego. It was a very common look back in the ’80s in New Jersey, where I am from, but sometimes people keep a fashion long after it is dead. The mullet just lends itself to the character and does all the work for me. Eddie is definitely mentally and visually stuck in a certain time, and he has got tattoos and a habit of taking the sleeves off everything that he wears.
Working with comedians like Kevin James and Adam Sandler. Was it a party?
It was. Comedy is a real science. You are always trying to find the funniest thread and, while this movie was definitely scripted by Adam and the other writers, they were always very open to other ideas and improving.
How did you research for this movie?
I did 45 years of research! I would not consider myself a real gamer, but when I was younger I played video games, back in the day. To really ‘get’ the games that this movie represents, you had to have gone to the arcades as a kid, before the home consoles came in. Going to the arcade was so special those days. They played music and it was like being at the roller-skating rink. I feel bad for all the kids that play alone now.
What can you say about your character’s journey in Pixels?
He is the childhood nemesis of Adam Sandler’s character. They are video gamers and he is very good. And then he falls on hard times. They find him in prison and they need him to defeat the aliens so they have to recruit him.
Is a film like Pixels a nice change of pace from the Game of Thrones?
That show has been my job now for about five or six years, and it’s a pretty serious show. So I don’t like to bore myself in terms of pigeonholing myself or repeating anything, and that is why I love jumping into something like Pixels. It’s such a joy to mix it up.
Did this movie make you nostalgic?
It does bring back a lot of the games from our youth. It’s crazy the amount of recognition they get from kids today. Everybody knows Pac-Man. I thought I was going to introduce it to a new generation and they’re like ‘Oh Pac-Man, yeah, of course. Donkey Kong I play that.’
What video games are you good at?
The ones in the movie are the only ones I know how to play. My friends know how to do everything, but I am lost. I was good at Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Galaxian, Astro — I love them all.