My Dinner with Hervé

Starring Peter Dinklage and Jamie Dornan

BY: Zak Wojnar

The life of Hervé Villechaize was short, wild, and marked with outrageous highs and heartbreaking lows. The hard-partying actor was only fifty years old when he shot himself to death in his Hollywood home. Not long before his death, Villechaize engaged in a lengthy interview with journalist Sacha Gervasi. Only after his death did Gervasi realize that Villechaize had provided the writer with his own eulogy.

As a dwarf, Hervé suffered from numerous health problems, and his suicide note stated that he ended his own life because he couldn’t deal with his chronic pain, a result of his normal-sized internal organs pushing up against his limited frame. He had attempted numerous suicide attempts over the course of his life, and he finally succeeded in ending it all in September 1993.

Twenty-five years after his death, an HBO Original Film is being made about Gervasi’s time with the troubled thespian. Gervasi wrote and directed My Dinner with Hervé, about the life, career, and tragedy of the actor’s final days and reminiscences of his past. Gervasi is best known for the documentary Anvil: The Story of Anvil, a heavy metal documentary about the under-appreciated rock and roll band, as well as the narrative feature, Hitchcock, starring Anthony Hopkins, which he directed. He also wrote such films as The Terminal (starring Tom Hanks) and Henry’s Crime (starring Keanu Reeves and Vera Farmiga).

Jamie Dornan stars as Danny Tate, a fictionalized version of Gervasi himself, and Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones steals the show as the iconic dwarf (who, while not politically correct by today’s standards, preferred to be called a midget, rather than a dwarf or little person).

Contrary to popular belief, Hervé Villechaize was not Latino or Filipino; he was of English and French descent. There were initially knee-jerk claims of whitewashing from uneducated and misinformed reactionaries, to the point where Dinklage himself had to come out and explain Villechaize’s ethnic background. That being said, Villechaize did have dark hair and an olive complexion, which had to be artificially implemented on the fair-skinned Dinklage, but claims that his casting is racist are unfounded and silly. There are plenty of things in this sick world at which we should express rage – casting Peter Dinklage as Hervé Villechaize is not one of them. Get your priorities straight, people!

My Dinner with Hervé premieres October 20 on HBO.