Ah, friends. What would we do without them? If you're Bobby Cannavale, Patricia Clarkson, or Peter Dinklage, you'd be out a seriously good part. Actor-filmmaker Tom McCarthy spent two and a half years writing ''The Station Agent'' -- the quirky tale of a gregarious hot dog vendor, a loopy artist, and a train-obsessed dwarf united by loneliness -- and crafting the leads specifically for these actors.
''I didn't have a dwarf in mind for the lead,'' says McCarthy, who saw his directing debut sell to Miramax for $1.5 million at January's Sundance Festival. ''Then I ran into Peter [who is 4 feet 5 inches tall] on the street and I thought, 'Here's a guy who has a reason to disconnect!' Because you walk down the street with Peter and people would stare and whisper. But for everyone else I wrote it without talking to them first.''
''He was very sneaky. He called and said, 'I'm writing and I need to know the name of a Cuban dish,''' says Cuban-American Cannavale, whom fans may know from TV's ''Third Watch.'' ''And I said, 'Why?' I finally pried it out of him and I would call every day and say, 'Are you finished yet? What about now?'''
The Killer Moment Behind the wheel of an SUV, Clarkson nearly runs Dinklage over. Twice.