Thursday, June 23, 2011

Latest series from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant of "Office" fame will be mockumentary about little person actor

From Christopher Campbell at SPOUT:

It seems every cable station has at least one show involving little people these days. Yet these are mostly “real” (as in reality TV) people rather than actors, though Peter Dinklage continues his rise in stature, if you will, with “Game of Thrones.”

So maybe I shouldn’t be too annoyed that Universal’s “Snow White and the Huntsmen” has cast Ian McShane, Ray Winstone and other non-little people as its dwarfs. My first response had been to label the casting as equivalent to blackface.

Of course it isn’t exactly, but I’m one to think there must be enough good little actors at least comparable to the “Time Bandits” gang, to employ more faithfully and respectfully. But I don’t even know that there’s been any protest from actual dwarfs or other diminutive persons, actors or not.

After all, the other “Snow White” movie in the works, the Tarsem-directed one, will feature little people, including some of those reality TV stars (Sebastian Seraceno and Ronald Lee Clark of “Pit Bosses” are among the septet). Also, while major role Hobbits in “The Hobbit” will be portrayed by big people, diminutive Kiwi actors are being cast as extras.

And just when I was wondering what guys like Verne Troyner, Deep Roy, Tony Cox and Warwick Davis are doing while Hollywood is gaga for fantasy and fairy tale roles but not so hot on short people when camera tricks and CGI render them unnecessary (cue Randy Newman), I see that at least Davis has an exciting new project.

Of course, it’s on the small screen, where real little people are more likely to be seen these days. The “Willow” and “Leprechaun” actor stars in “Life’s Too Short,” the latest series from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant for BBC Two (and later HBO) that takes a mockumentary look at the (fictional) life of the little guy who got his start as Wicket in “Return of the Jedi” and is now apparently struggling in a world where he can’t win big little roles (because they go to guys like McShane and Winstone?).

There’s a new promo for the show here. And additionally Davis will reprise his roles this summer in the final “Harry Potter” movie and some heist flick about a gang of thieving dwarfs titled “Shortfellas.”

Can Davis and Gervais be a saving grace for other diminutive actors? Seems things may be, um, looking up?