LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES; *REUTERS / HBO) – When Sacha Gervasi set out to do an interview with the world’s most famous diminutive actor, Herve Villechaize, from ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ and ‘Fantasy Island’, he had no idea that it would become a 25 year mission to get the story published. Now, Gervasi’s night-long interview with Villechaize is finally seeing the light of day in a new HBO film, “My Dinner with Herve”, starring ‘Game of Thrones’ star Peter Dinklage and ‘Fifty Shades” Jamie Dornan.
“I wanted to tell it as a newspaper article but the newspaper I was working for rejected it,” Gervasi told Reuters. “They weren’t really interested in reality and that’s kind of the point. In a strange way, a thank you to them for not publishing the story because if they’d published it, there might have not been a film 25 years later but I always knew I had to honor the promise I made to Herve, which is to one day tell a more truthful story about him which was much more than a catchphrase on a popular TV show.”
The film explores Villechaize’s personal struggles growing up, his relationship with his parents, how he got into the film and television industry and how everything fell apart for the 4 foot actor. Peter Dinklage came on board the project 15 years ago. He described Villechaize as “magnetic, he was really theatrical and a lot of fun. He burned very brightly and not many of us do – that brightly, at least.” For the role, Dinklage wore prosthetics to give him Villechaize’s rounder face and had to perfect his unique French accent for the role – something which irked his co-star Jamie Dornan. Dornan said “It’s weird when you’re in a trailer next to him and he’s doing all this vocal warm-up exercises and he’s with his dialect coach and they’re doing all these crazy very high-pitched exercises and sort of screaming while I’m trying to get my stuff ready but I let him know that it bothered me. But it’s ok. We’re good friends, it’s ok.”
At the end of the film, Dornan’s character makes the promise to Villechaize that he will get his story out there, as Gervasi did in reality. Villechaize committed suicide a few weeks after the two parted company. Dornan said “For Sacha alone, it’s so great. He made a promise to Herve 25 years ago and here we are telling his story on a big scale, you know and I think Herve would have loved this because he loved it all. I’m glad for Sacha, I’m glad we got to make it.” “My Dinner with Herve” begins streaming on HBO on October 20.