• Guy Jeffries

*Star Profile: Christopher Walken*


Star Profile #4 is requested by avid fantasy book collector Phil Y. This segment will cover actors, directors and even composers featuring TEN of the their most iconic roles or films and not necessarily their best but for what they are most recognised and remembered for. Maybe take an unresearched guess at what the films might be.

Accidental actor Ronnie Walken actually comes from a musical background and fell into acting. He shows his love of musicals by sneaking dance moves into as many roles as he can. Even winning an MTV award for choreographing and dancing to Fatboy Slim's song 'Weapon of Choice' which was directed by Spike Jonze.

He has received several nominations and awards for his musical career including the Shakespeare Theater's Will Award for his contributions to classical theatre back in 1994. He chose his stage name as Christopher for a better ring to it, as suggested by a friend. Do we agree? Ronnie Walken, Ronald Walken...

Like the late David Bowie he has heterochromia, each of his eyes being different colour. But his signature trait is his voice, that tone and accent that adds to his quirkiness. Also, his finger snapping, clapping and pointing almost like he's about to bust into dance. His sheer presence on screen is mesmerising whether it be a comedy, horror or thriller.

He seldom takes leadings roles but has a rule of never turning down a part stating no matter how good or bad a film is, the experience has always been rewarding to him. He's had a fair share of playing bad guys or accomplices in films like Man on Fire, Welcome to the Jungle, and True Romance plus other cult greats like the disturbing Communion, Dead Zone and Sleepy Hollow.

A multitalented actor, he's had a number of comedies and family films under his belt like Adam Sandler's Click, Wedding Crashers and Mouse Hunt, including his recent pictures in this year's Jungle Book and Eddie the Eagle. He's also a long standing member of Saturday Night Live always doing an annual hosting of the show each and every year.

Walken, at the time was the only Bond villain to have an Oscar when he played crazy industrialist Max Zorin opposite Roger Moore's 007, planning to destroy Silicon Valley in A View To Kill (1985)

1993 we see Walken play Mike Myers love competition, fighting over Tia Carrere, Cassandra in Wayne's World 2 as record producer Bobby Cahn.

In 2007 we see Walken show off his dance moves in romantic comedy musical Hairspray playing John Travolta's devoted husband. Yes, husband. Mr. Turnblad.

One of my favourites, playing Hans, the religious Shih Tzu-napper and one of the Seven Psychopaths Colin Farrell eventually writes about. It's a great film from 'In Bruges' Oscar winning director Martin McDonagh and displays some of Walken's quirky best.

Controversial film maker Abel Ferrara (The Funeral, Bad Lieutenant) directs Walken in a ultra violent paraphrased Robin Hood, King of New York in 1991 as ex-con Frank White, who takes out the drug lords and donates the profits to the city's poor. The film wasn't well received in it's premieres, with people walking out at it's New York Film Festival's showing, including the director's wife.

"STOP THAT!"In 1995 we see the birth of a cult classic and the start of a trilogy all starring Walken as the very sarcastic and witty, fallen angel, Gabriel, who's trying to ignite a war in Heaven by collecting a particular soul. This is one of my favourite roles of Walken's, where he tells us how we get the indent in the middle of our top lip and how he tells off his chauffeurs for whimpering and crying. Also, Viggo Mortensen's Lucifer is heart-wrenchingly epic.

A couple of years later Walken gets kidnapped by a group of college kids in Suicide Kings, in the hope of paying a different ransom on E.T boy star Henry Thomas' sister. Walken, playing a menacing mafia boss himself is brilliant, even when missing one of his fingers. Though my fave star of this film is Stand-up legend Denis Leary as Walken's bodyguard Lono who goes on the hunt of the kidnappers and raises merry hell on the way.

"That phone call I got, it came from outside high walls and fancy gates; it comes from a place you know about maybe from the movies. But I come from out there, and everybody out there knows, everybody lies: cops lie, newspapers lie, parents lie. The one thing you can count on - word on the street... yeah, that's solid." Walken either gets the best lines or turns them into the best lines.

Next is his Oscar nominated role as Leonardo DiCaprio's father as Frank Abagnale Sr in Spielberg's 2002 Catch Me If You Can. Again, the lines and stories, like the two mice in the pot of cream is simply enchanting only because it's Walken, totally earning him the nomination.

Already proving to be the King of cameos, nothing is quite like Walken's Cpt. Koons with that hunk of metal in Taratino's 1994 Pulp Fiction. What could be laugh out loud funny, and it is funny, but it's his calm, seriousness Walken gives that stops you from giggling like a child.

No Christopher 'Ronald' Walken list is complete without his Oscar winning performance as Russian roulette spinner, Nick, suffering from PTSD after the Vietnamese war in Michael Cimino's 1978 classic, The Deer Hunter. Walken actually spat in De Niro's face under Cimino's instruction which infuriated De Niro so much, he nearly walked off set and to get the gaunt, withdrawn appearance, he ate a diet of nothing but bananas and rice.

And that's Christopher Walken's Star Profile. Did you know he was considered for the role of Han Solo and Jack Sparrow, sorry, Captain Jack Sparrow? He was also originally cast for Eric Qualen, the bad guy in Stallone's Cliffhanger before John Lithgow took over.

Admittedly this was a challenge as there's too many films to list, having a filmography of 130 films long and he believes a 200 count is a realistic achievement. Let's hope so.

I'll leave you with the iconic gold watch monologue from Pulp Fiction. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed. Please, comment below or tweet me @MrNiceGuyReview who you would like to nominate to be featured next. Tom Hanks coming soon so watch this space.

"Hello, little man. Boy, I sure heard a bunch about you. See, I was a good friend of your dad's. We were in that Hanoi pit of hell together over five years. Hopefully...you'll never have to experience this yourself, but when two men are in a situation like me and your Dad were, for as long as we were, you take on certain responsibilities of the other. If it had been me who had not made it, Major Coolidge would be talkin' right now to my son Jim. But the way it turned out is I'm talkin' to you, Butch. I got somethin' for you. This watch I got here was first purchased by your great-grandfather during the first World War. It was bought in a little general store in Knoxville, Tennessee. Made by the first company to ever make wrist watches. Up till then people just carried pocket watches. It was bought by private Doughboy Erine Coolidge on the day he set sail for Paris. It was your great-grandfather's war watch and he wore it everyday he was in that war. When he had done his duty, he went home to your great-grandmother, took the watch off, put it an old coffee can, and in that can it stayed 'til your granddad Dane Coolidge was called upon by his country to go overseas and fight the Germans once again. This time they called it World War II...."

#ChristopherWalken

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