The National heap praise on Peter Dinklage for Cyrano vocal performance

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  • Peter Dinklage
    Peter Dinklage
    American actor
  • Cyrano de Bergerac
    French novelist and dramatist (1619–1655)
  • Matt Berninger
    American singer and songwriter

Aaron Dessner of rock band The National has praised Peter Dinklage for his vocal performance in musical film Cyrano, saying the actor “really developed” as a singer and took “ownership” of the songs.

The Game Of Thrones star, who portrayed Tyrion Lannister in the hit HBO fantasy series, stars as wordsmith Cyrano de Bergerac in the Joe Wright-directed feature.

The 52-year-old previously played the role in a stage musical written by his wife Erica Schmidt, which was an adaptation of the 1897 French play by Edmond Rostand.

Dessner, a close collaborator of Taylor Swift, wrote and composed the soundtrack with his twin brother Bryce, with lyrics from The National’s frontman Matt Berninger and his wife Carin Besser.

He heaped praise on Dinklage for his development, telling the PA news agency: “Having worked with Peter off off-Broadway in Connecticut and then in the New York version off-Broadway, we really learned where the sweet spots in his voice are key-wise.

“Also, he really developed as a singer. Over time he let go of Matt’s shadow. Or rather he stopped trying to stand in those shoes.

“Obviously, Matt having written the lyrics and melodies, he is in your mind. And Peter is a big fan of the National.

“But over time he really took ownership of the songs and we gradually shifted them into the perfect spot for him.

“He is just a brilliant actor and a brilliant singer in that he understands it is not so much about how well you sing, as being believable and finding a way to put your own stamp and your own heart into it.”

The National on stage in London (PA)
The National on stage in London (PA)

Bryce said they had been approached for the project because its creative team wanted to avoid a “Hollywood” sound and create something more “raw”.

They worked with the London Symphony Orchestra, Icelandic pianist Vikingur Olafsson and folk musician Sam Amidon, who also appears in the film in a minor acting role.

Bryce told PA: “By Hollywood standards it is still on the smaller side. It looks like a fancy movie but it wasn’t like a Bond film.

“I would say that Joe Wright, the director, is a real music fan. In fact, everybody involved came to us because they really like what we do.

“They didn’t just want it to sound like a Hollywood film score. It doesn’t sound like that. It has a much closer, raw sound at times.”

He added: “There are some things that feel more haphazard and more raw, and there are other things that are much more composed and beautiful.”

The Cyrano original soundtrack is out now and the film will be released in January.

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