Newsweek

Director Sacha Gervasi on HBO's 'My Dinner With Hervé'

The movie, starring Peter Dinklage, depicts the rollicking—and tragic—life of the "Fantasy Island" sidekick.
Dinklage, left, plays Villechaize, and Dornan the journalist who interviews him—based on director Gervasi.
CUL_Herve_01 Source: Steffan Hill/HBO

In 1993, Sacha Gervasi was in the newsroom of Britain’s Daily Mail, surrounded by banks of TV sets. The freelance journalist, 26 at the time, was pitching ideas for stories to the paper’s Sunday magazine, You, when a familiar figure popped up on one of the screens: Hervé Villechaize, star of the kitschy ’70s TV series Fantasy Island. You know, Tattoo, the diminutive, white-suited sidekick to an identically dressed Ricardo Montalban. The one who shouted, “Da plane! Da plane!”

What happened to fucking guy? Gervasi thought. Is he even alive? Some digging revealed that yes, he was. A cache of articles detailed Villechaize’s rise (beginning with the 1974 James Bond film , playing Nick Nack) and spectacular fall: drinking, drugs, self-destructive meltdowns, a messy divorce, and lots and lots of women: “You Haven’t Lived Until You’ve Had a Naked, Chocolate-Covered Dwarf in the Shower With You,” headline. On paper, and otherwise, what writer could resist that story?

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