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Interview: Peter Dinklage doesn't trust his 'X-Men' villain

Peter Dinklage says he usually doesn't play his villains as thinking they're villains, but the one he plays in the new "X-Men" really is evil.

Peter Dinklage plays a bad guy who thinks he's not a bad guy in "X-Men: Days of Future Past." Credit: Getty Images Peter Dinklage plays a bad guy who thinks he's not a bad guy in "X-Men: Days of Future Past."
Credit: Getty Images

Peter Dinklage is the main baddie in “X-Men: Days of Future Past," playing Dr. Bolivar Trask, a corporate type who wants to design robots to hunt and kill mutants, who he perceives as too dangerous to be living with humans. But Dinklage doesn’t like the term “villain,” not here or on “Game of Thrones.”

“I always say the highfalutin’ actor thing of not judging your villain, not seeing him as a villain,” Dinklage says. “He really believes he’s doing the right thing. He wants to save humankind, worldwide, at the time of the Vietnam War, one of the worst wars there was — although I guess they’re all bad wars.”

But good intentions, however misguided, run up against less good intentions. “He’s also a capitalist. Those are the guys I don’t trust: war profiteers. His containers [with the robots] have his logo on them. The guys screaming in a tree in Central Park, you get that as a New Yorker. But I don’t get the guys down in Wall Street, bleeding people for a living.”

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Dinklage’s character gets to hobnob with another baddie of the 20th century. The film has Trask pitch his robots to Richard Nixon, played by Mark Camacho. “There’s a fine line where you can easily slip into comedic territory. You can get Rich Little with it,” Dinklage says. “Mark certainly didn’t do that.”

Dinklage even says he has a kind of history with Nixon. “My mother was an elementary school teacher for 35 years, and she taught at Nixon’s school in New Jersey. I was raised a liberal Democrat, and she was protesting Nixon when he was in office. And yet we have a picture of my mother and President Nixon shaking hands.”

Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge

 
 
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