Peter Dinklage spoke with Solzy at the Movies about starring in Cyrano and doing a musical at a time when Broadway was shut down.
My conversation with the award-winning actor came during a dedicated Critics Choice Association press day at the start of December. CCA members had the opportunity to attend a press conference followed by a breakfast reception meet & greet and 1:1 interviews. At the time, the studio was planning for a wider release in mid-January. Whether it was because of the Omicron surge or not, the release was pushed back until the end of February. In any event, the film is finally going to be seen by a wider audience.
Joe Wright directs Cyrano from a script written by Erica Schmidt and based on “Cyrano de Bergerac” by Edmond Rostand, with music by Aaron & Bryce Dessner and lyrics by Matt Berninger & Carin Besser.Peter Dinklage stars in the film alongside Haley Bennett, Kelvin Harrison, Jr. and Ben Mendelsohn.
After its Oscar-qualifying run in December, Cyrano is back in theaters starting February 25. The film’s sole Oscar nomination is for Costume Design.
One of the things that I heard during the press conference was that this was live singing on set.
Peter Dinklage: Yeah.
You have a few action sequences where you’re singing.
Peter Dinklage: Right.
Is that as easy as it looked?
Peter Dinklage: It’s a workout, for sure But I love the quality of that—the hearing it—in terms of the singing live because you want to hear the breath, you want to hear the hits, you want to hear the moans, you want to hear all of that that warms the song up emotionally and on a human level. Sometimes, when you see musicals—I don’t have the skill set to sing and dance at the same time. But sometimes, when you see them, you can tell that it’s pre-recorded because it’s not matching the physicality of what they’re doing in the moment. Because there’s so much physicality in this movie, like the thing you mentioned—swordfighting—you didn’t want it to feel like this flat layer on top of all the physicality. You want it to feel like it’s right there getting hit and that was really helpful. The repetition of it—because you have to do it many, many, many times—was the challenge but you’ve just got to keep your pipes clean and get some good night’s sleep the night before.
With the stage musical, you have the audience there to bounce that energy off.
Peter Dinklage: Right.
With the pandemic affecting how many people can be on set, what was the vibe like during filming?
Peter Dinklage: It was great. I mean, making movies during a pandemic, you feel it’s a bubble. You feel really sort of protected from the rest of the world because we’re tested every day. Everybody’s really careful because if anybody gets it, the movie shuts down and everybody’s out of a job. We’re very, very cautious and supportive of each other. It felt like—I’ve never been to summer camp but it had that feeling of camaraderie. We were in a beautiful place called Noto, Sicily. Our art directors were so happy because it’s a town from another time. Because our movie takes place in the 1600s, it was just there for us. We shot on a live volcano, an active volcano. That was really exciting, too.
How special was it to be making a musical at a time when Broadway was shut down?
Peter Dinklage: Boy, that was a sad time—New York City shutting down their Broadway lights. It was nice because the songs, the show must go on. It felt we were trying to continue the spirit of something because if everybody sort of shut down—every day that everything was shut down, the more you lost hope for things ever coming back. I have a lot of friends who were out of work for many years because they’re Broadway actors. Or what was it, a year and a half? But we’re back and it’ so fun to see it back.
MGM will release Cyrano in theaters on February 25, 2022.
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