Movie Preview

The Station Agent (2003)

The Station Agent | CANNAVALE AND CLARKSON
CANNAVALE AND CLARKSON

Details Release Date: Oct 17, 2003; Limited Release: Oct 03, 2003; Rated: R; Length: 88 Minutes; Genre: Drama; With: Bobby Cannavale, Patricia Clarkson and Peter Dinklage; Distributor: Miramax; More

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.

Originally posted Aug 11, 2003 Published in issue #724-725 Aug 22, 2003 Order article reprints