Interview by Paul Salfen
Peter Dinklage plays Cyrano in this film adaptation of the classic French play. Here he speaks with Paul Salfen about his role, and also his appearance (which gave us all the feels) as he joined The National’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner to perform “Your Name,” from the upcoming film Cyrano on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
In the tradition of the classic MGM movies that celebrate romance lyrically and visually, award winning director Joe Wright (Darkest Hour, Anna Karenina, Atonement, Pride & Prejudice) orchestrates a gifted ensemble of actors performing the big-screen epic love story Cyrano. This bold new adaptation, scripted by Erica Schmidt and filmed on stunning Italian locales, re imagines the timeless tale of wit, courage, and love. The score and songs are from The National’s Bryce and Aaron Dessner, and Matt Berninger and Carin Besser. In the title role, Peter Dinklage (Emmy Award winner for Game of Thrones) makes the iconic character his own.
Cyrano de Bergerac (played by Mr. Dinklage) is a man ahead of his time. Dazzling one and all whether with ferocious wordplay at a verbal joust or with brilliant swordplay in a duel, the hale and hearty Cyrano exults in gallantry and is always up for a challenge. Except, that is, in matters of the heart; only there does what his friend and fellow soldier of the revered King’s Guard, Le Bret (Bashir Salahuddin of A Simple Favor), refers to as Cyrano’s “unique physique” inhibit him.
He has yet to declare his feelings for — and to — the luminous Roxanne (Haley Bennett of Hillbilly Elegy); a lover of literature and a fierce intellect, Roxanne has been a devoted friend to Cyrano since their hometown days. He has secretly been in love with her for his entire adult life, but also convinced that his appearance renders him unworthy of her love. From her own perspective, Roxanne seeks to manifest both true romance and a self-determined future; in her overbearing wealthy suitor, the powerful Duke De Guiche (Ben Mendelsohn of Captain Marvel), she can see neither.
Then, once Roxanne locks eyes with newly arrived King’s Guard recruit Christian (Kelvin Harrison Jr. of The Trial of the Chicago 7), it is love at first sight. Christian is dashing yet conflicted, bright yet in need of guidance. Roxanne pleads with Cyrano to promise her that he will watch over and protect Christian. Cyrano does so, and encourages Christian to woo Roxanne with love letters — instantly finding that Christian will need to avail himself of Cyrano’s own heartfelt writing skills. In so doing, Cyrano will at last be able to express his true feelings to Roxanne, albeit through someone else; caught in a cached love triangle, Cyrano finds his conundrum at once vexingly funny and wistfully bittersweet. Yet he selflessly gives of himself to inspire Christian and empower Roxanne towards each other, even as once-distant drums of war grow louder. Together and apart they will all experience the heights of happiness, the depths of despair, and destinies beyond what they each might have envisioned for themselves — as a symphony of emotions envelops moviegoers with words, music, and beauty in Cyrano.