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Peter Dinklage talks Nixon connection in 'X-Men' movie

The actor's mother met the commander-in-chief when she taught at a school named for him in New Jersey.
By Karen Butler   |   May 12, 2014 at 4:18 PM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, May 12 (UPI) -- Actor Peter Dinklage says he has a distant, real-life connection to U.S. President Richard M. Nixon, with whom his character shares the screen in the upcoming superhero ensemble picture, X-Men: Days of Future Past.

In the 1970s-set film, Dinklage plays the villainous Dr. Bolivar Trask, a weapons designer who tries to convince Nixon to use his machines to eradicate the world's super-powered mutants. X-Men icons Wolverine, Charles Xavier and Magneto -- played by Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender -- team up to stop him.

Asked at a weekend press conference in New York what he thought when he first heard Trask would be crossing paths with Nixon, Dinklage told UPI: "With President Nixon, there is a fine line where you can easily go into comedic territory."

"So many people have done famous impersonations of him. You could get very Rich Little with it. Mark [Carmacho] certainly did not and the makeup artist did such a great job with that nose, that famous nose," the 44-year-old actor said.

"My mother was an elementary school teacher for 35 years and taught at the Nixon School in New Jersey. I was raised as a very liberal Democrat and she was protesting Nixon when he was in office. And we have a picture of my mother and President Nixon shaking hands. And much to her chagrin, we put it up on the mantle and rubbed it in her face for a little while there. But Mark looked so much like the real man."

Dinklage shot his role in the film during a break from playing former royal adviser Tyrion on the wildly popular HBO series, Game of Thrones.

"I jump at the chance to do these little indie movies. Sometimes they can shine more than big ones," the Emmy Award-winner joked about the blockbuster-to-be, Days of Future Past.

Moments after being teased by the press conference's moderator about being the "go-to villain" on television and in film, Dinklage said: "I wanted to argue with him about what he said -- 'two villains.' This guy [Trask,] sure. But not so much the other guy [Tyrion.] No, you know, I've said that before, even regarding [Trask,] and it was more like a highfalutin actor thing of not judging your character, seeing them as a villain."

"You are so highfallutin," quipped McAvoy, who was sitting alongside Dinklage.

"Aren't I? I go back to the text. Having not been asked for the next X-Men movie yet, I go back to the text," he added. "[Trask] really believes he is doing the right thing. He wants to save humankind worldwide in a time of war -- the Vietnam War -- one of the worst wars in our recent history... I guess they're all really bad wars. But he thinks this is an opportunity to bring the world together. But he is also a capitalist and I think if you are going to tack on 'villain' or 'evil' to someone, those are the guys that I don't trust. War profiteers. And he sure has his big 'T' on all these cargo containers with the Sentinels [robots] in them and that's ego and war profiteering and that's where true villainy, for me, lays. The guy screaming at a tree in Central Park, he's crazy and you and I get that, being New Yorkers, but the guys on Wall Street in the suits, bleeding people of their lives, that's villainy to me."


Directed by Bryan Singer and co-starring Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Ellen Page, Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult and Jennifer Lawrence, X-Men: Days of Future Past opens in U.S. theaters May 23.
© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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