The diminutive star talks about working with ''Elf'' costar James Caan and the strangest job of his career

By Brian M. Raftery
Updated November 19, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

He’s been a surly king and a surly station agent. Now, In Elf, Peter Dinklage plays a children’s author who is, of course, surly. Type-casting?

Did macho man James Caan arm-wrestle a puma or anything between takes? [Laughs] I wouldn’t mess with Jimmy. Anybody who was in The Godfather is a tough guy. He loves telling stories from the good ol’ days. I eat that stuff up.

You became a gossip fixture last fall… I couldn’t explain it. There are wars being fought! Who cares what I’m doing on a Saturday night? I’m not even a celebrity.

Did you really once do stunt work on Oz? I was held from a 12-story building by my ankle — the only stunt I’ve ever done. I didn’t get much sleep the night before.

Was that the strangest gig of your career? Oh, man. I was once part of a Christmas cabaret. I sang ”I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” I tap-danced. I had a ten-gallon hat. It was quite absurd.