Peter Dinklage: Chris Buck/Corbis Outline
EW Staff
December 05, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

Peter Dinklage ranks among 2003’s top breakouts

Unlike the scowling children’s author he plays in ”Elf,” Dinklage has plenty to thank Santa for — starting with his role in that very movie. In his one brief but hilarious scene, the 34-year-old actor kicks Will Ferrell’s merry little butt for calling him an ”angry elf.” ”It’s not your typical holiday film,” says Dinklage. ”It was a joy.” Equally delightful? The Sundance smash ”The Station Agent,” in which Dinklage plays a reclusive railroad aficionado. His quiet performance earned him critical raves and made Hollywood take notice — finally. (He’ll soon star opposite Cheri Oteri in the reality-TV mockumentary ”Surviving Eden,” and he has a development deal for his own TV series.) ”Struggling is tiring,” Dinklage laughs. ”It’s nice to be comfortable.”

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