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No Small Parts, Only Characters Who Are Miniatures – Night at the Museum-style

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As the saying goes, “there are no small parts, only small actors.” But what about when an actor literally goes small? Movies have given us shrinking men and women for decades, from the classic (Incredible Shrinking Man) to the questionable (Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves). In honor of this summer’s Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, in which a whole slew of great actors go small for laughs, read on for a list of cinema’s most iconic miniaturized actors. They may be short in stature, but they’re big on talent. Just don’t leave them alone with the cat.


Owen Wilson, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009)
Wilson’s scene-stealing Jedediah Smith and his fellow cowboy miniatures return for this summer’s Night at the Museum
sequel. This time the entire Smithsonian comes to life, which means
there’ll be plenty of labored pop culture references along with the
historical mash-ups. Somehow Jedediah, mini Octavius (Steve Coogan), and all the rest get shipped to the Smithsonian, where Stiller’s night
watchman happens to be working these days. Naturally.


Eddie Murphy
, Meet Dave (2008)

funnier than normal-sized Eddie Murphy? Why, tiny Eddie inside
of big Eddie, of course! At least that’s what the folks behind Meet Dave were hoping. This “comedy”
finds Murphy playing a tiny alien space captain who
pilots a humanoid spaceship who just happens to also look Eddie Murphy.
(Talk about ego. Did no one on Planet Nil realize the captain was building a
ship in his own image?) 
Murphy is also rumored to be working on an update of The Incredible Shrinking Man. Which is odd, as Eddie Murphy has never been one to repeat himself.

shrunk-roach-125.jpgRick Moranis and Eve Gordon, Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves (1997)

he shrunk the kids, then he turned his baby into a giant. So it makes sense that for the
third Honey, I Shrunk The… outing, Moranis’ wacky inventor
would accidentally turn the shrink ray on himself, shrinking his brother, wife, and sister-in-law in the process as well.
The tiny adults have similar (though less exciting) adventures as their
kids, encountering bugs, riding in bubbles, and swimming in onion dip.
Meanwhile, the kids throw a huge party because, well, Home Alone made a lot of money at the box office.


Julia Roberts, Hook (1991)
sweetheart sported an adorable pixie cut to portray moviedom’s most
famous fairy. Julia’s Tinker Bell lives inside a clock, harboring a
crush on Peter Pan, until her “biggest feeling” causes her to grow big, grow some rockin’ early ’90s hair, and muster up the courage to plant a
kiss on Peter. Unfortunately, this causes our hero to remember that he
has a wife and kids and can’t spend the rest of his life making out with fairies.


Kevin Pollack, Willow (1988)
one of the mischievous Brownies, Pollack earned the distinction of
actually being smaller than the title character. Pollack’s baby-stealer
Rool is also one of the biggest tiny drunkards in movie history. (He
makes like a pint-sized Nick Nolte
after falling into a tub of beer.) Rool is the comedic highlight of the
movie, arguing with pal Franjean over who should lead, sass-talking
Madmartigan (Val Kilmer),
and falling for a cat. Rool is proof that the only thing
funnier than a stubborn drunk is one who’s only a couple inches tall.


Dennis Quaid, Innerspace (1987)
For Joe Dante‘s inspired take on Fantastic Voyage,
Quaid’s Tuck Pendleton is shrunk
down and inadvertently injected into a hypochondriac grocery clerk (played by the ever-limber Martin Short).
While inside his equally tiny pod ship, Pendleton
controls Putter, leading to a bevy of gags familiar to fans of ’80s
body possession movies. (Short dances, contorts his face and turns
into a tough guy hero with signature zeal.) Luckily, it was the ’80s. Everything worked out, and
there was a peppy Rod Stewart song at the end.


Lily Tomlin, Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981)
Joel Schumacher‘s 1981 cult hit puts an anti-consumerist spin on The Incredible Shrinking Man: Tomlin’s sudden size reduction is caused by everyday household chemicals, like the super-sticky “Galaxy Glue” her husband (Charles Grodin)
Screenwriter Jane Wagner also turns shrinking into a metaphor
for the neglected housewife, as the world suddenly notices Tomlin’s
average suburbanite after she’s miniaturized. She also becomes the target of mad
scientists with world-shrinking plans, and a friend to a super-smart
gorilla. (This is one wacky movie, folks.)
Fantastic Voyage-125.jpg

Raquel Welch
Fantastic Voyage (1966)
is a looker at any size, and her famous role in Disney’s romp was no exception. (How convenient that her
skintight outfit shrunk down as well!) Fantastic Voyage aims for adventure, giving us a team of heroes who are
miniaturized and injected into an ailing scientist. The movie went on to inspire everything from Innerspace to that terrible Coolio song. Meanwhile, Welch continues to inspire fond memories in anyone who ever caught Fantastic Voyage on TV on a lazy Saturday afternoon. 


Grant Williams, Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
granddaddy of shrinking movies established all of the genre’s tropes: Williams’ minuscule man
lives in a dollhouse, encounters ravenous cats and spiders, and grows alienated from his normal-sized wife. Shrinking tales are often a
metaphor for man’s insignificance in the universe, but they’re also a showcase
for cool special effects, and director Jack Arnold
and his crew took full advantage. There’s something undeniably
cool about Williams navigating a suddenly dangerous world that was once
commonplace to him. And he’s darn cute to boot.

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