Friday 20 September 2019

Warwick Davis: There are fewer roles for people with dwarfism these days

Warwick Davis was born with a rare form of dwarfism called Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita.

Warwick Davis (PA)
Warwick Davis (PA)

By Julia Hunt, Press Association

Warwick Davis has said roles for people with dwarfism have become even more limited but that the parts available are now of better quality.

The Star Wars actor, 47 – who was born with a rare form of dwarfism called Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita – said some of the work that used to be offered to actors of short stature was unethical and of poor quality.

But he said a shift in the way dwarfism is viewed means more of the parts on offer are now “quite decent”.

Davis, who got his first break playing an Ewok in Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi at 11, said: “I think the quality of those roles is better, but I don’t think there’s as many of them. As many roles.

“As in there were a lot of different types of work for short actors at one stage, but I don’t think all of it was ethical and all of it was particularly good.

Warwick Davis

“But now there are far fewer roles, so I think what there is is there’s quite decent stuff.”

In 2014 Davis founded the Reduced Height Theatre Company, to celebrate the talent in the short actor community.

He said: “We’re moving into a kind of world now where diversity is important to make sure that we all embrace that and hopefully that can only be a good thing for individuals in the profession who are diverse, in their physical appearance or what have you.”

Davis’s daughter Annabelle, who inherited dwarfism from her father, is now following in his footsteps in the acting industry.

While he agreed he felt protective of the 20-year-old, Davis said Annabelle is “a realist”.

“She’s seen me working in the industry ever since she was born and understands how hard it is – how much hard work and effort you have to put in to be successful,” he said.

“It’s not something that just drops in your lap and you don’t have to do anything. You’ve got to work at it, nurture it and if she’s prepared to do that, then hats off to her and she’ll be very successful.”

Davis, who hosts quiz show Tenable, said his daughter is also becoming a name in her own right.

Warwick Davis and his family

He said: “What I like about it, as well, is when we go out now, everybody wants pictures and selfies but now Annabelle takes a bit of the pressure off me because often we have people running up saying ‘Can I have a picture?’ and I go ‘Yeah alright’ and they go, ‘No, not you – Annabelle’. I quite like that.”

:: Tenable returns to ITV on Monday October 30.

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