December 2, 2012

"And as I get older, I like [flying] less and less. I don't much like driving either. I prefer to be driven."

"And, when I'm in London, I don't even like walking on the street. I can never get used to looking the right way when I cross the street. When we're over there, I always say to my wife, 'Stay in the hotel. Don't go out there. It's too dangerous.'"

Says Christopher Walken, who'd like you to know that he's not the creepy guy he always seems to be in his movies. He's  "a regular guy. I stay home a lot, I make an effort to keep a distance from the whole social thing, the openings, the parties. I try to live in a calm way."

I can see why a fearful, avoidant sort of person could manifest as oddball on screen.
How has he survived in the cut-throat, hyper-ambitious world of Hollywood? "Well, you know, I've always found it to be an honest place. They either want you for a role or they don't. It's pretty simple. People talk about Hollywood being this place where you can never get straight answers, but my experience is the opposite. If they don't want you, it's very clear."

What's the worst thing about his job? "Learning lines, for sure. I don't know how people learn their lines quickly. It's always been a tedious, agonising chore for me. I hate it. It takes me ages to know my lines. I just wish I could do movies with cue cards. That way, it's easy. Not lazy, but easy. You know what? I wish I could live my whole life with cue cards. I really do."
Maybe what we're perceiving as odd is his struggle to recall the lines. As for cue cards: 1. Marlon Brando used cue cards, and 2. What's that quote? Life is a play for which there is no rehearsal and only one performance. Something like that. Or am I merging 2 or 3 famous quotes?

26 comments:

BaltoHvar said...

Well - the one line he's adored for was on a que-card...

"...needs more cow-bell..."

ironrailsironweights said...

Let's see ... he doesn't like flying, doesn't like to drive, and doesn't even like walking ... maybe a sedan chair?


Peter

southcentralpa said...

Well, it sounds like a concatenation of various quotes from figures of stage and screen. I can tell you this: the index of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations has no entry for "rehearsal".

The Farmer said...

Great actor. His monologue to Woody Allen in Annie Hall is delivered perfectly.

Quaestor said...

Beat me to it, BaltoHvar. I was going to point out that for an actor generally unknown for comedy Walken's appearances on Saturday Night Live were always successful and hilarious. Too bad the current iteration of SNL is so gawd-awful lame that Walken would be best advised to stay away.

ndspinelli said...

Walken is a gem. He played a great character in the recent flick, Seven Psychopaths. Ironically, although he was on of the 7, he was the most "normal" one. The man loves to cook and loves to eat, you need to know nothing more about him to know he's ok!

ndspinelli said...

"MORE COW BELL!!"

john said...

Churchill had the same problem not looking the right way.

edutcher said...

A lot of actors are like that, so he's not that unusual.

Just a standard introvert.

PS So he's got to be pushing 70, but still doesn't look well.

PPS Love the avatar, Balto.

ricpic said...

He may be an "oddball," but Walken comes across as comfortable in his own oddball skin, which is the battle won.

Pogo said...

Geez, maybe Walken and I are the same person.

I've never seen us in the same room together.

sydney said...

Aged 16, he toured with a travelling circus as a trainee lion-tamer: "It was just too good to pass up."

Not such a regular guy, I'm thinking.

Mary Beth said...

He likes "big chunks of dialog" but has trouble learning his lines. He's afraid of horses but was a lion tamer trainee.

If I were talking to him in some internet chat forum, I would accuse him of making stuff up.

edutcher said...

There's an old line about a man defying all tigers, but fleeing a specific mouse.

Ann Althouse said...

"He's afraid of horses but was a lion tamer trainee."

He should be friends with the Pope, who was petting lions yesterday.

sydney said...

Maybe this explains the lions and horses paradox:

When he was a teenager, he played the lion tamer's son in a traveling circus. ''He must have not been very good,'' Walken says of the lion tamer. ''He had scars all over his back.''

Bill Harshaw said...

George Clooney in ER would write his lines on his sleeve, or a prop.

deborah said...

I suppose everyone's seen this, but here:

http://www.youtube
.com/watch?v=aZbckwYY9r4

LarsPorsena said...

Hey, Walken! What about that Natalie Wood thing?

EMD said...

At least in London they have those handy LOOK LEFT and LOOK RIGHT painted at each crossing for nearly every street.

As an American, I still look both ways every time.

Critter said...

i just read the article in "Walken Voice".

Gene said...

Life is a play for which there is no rehearsal and only one performance.

Ernest Hemingway once said the same thing but using a sports metaphor: Life is like a baseball game where they throw you in without telling you the rules and the first time they catch you off base they kill you.

Gene said...

Life is a play for which there is no rehearsal and only one performance.

Ernest Hemingway once said the same thing but using a sports metaphor: Life is like a baseball game where they throw you in without telling you the rules and the first time they catch you off base they kill you.

Michael K said...

I liked him a lot in "Dogs of War." Since I don't go to movies anymore, I haven't seen the more recent stuff.

Valentine Smith said...

I don't think he's an avoidant personality. Those with avoidance problems seem to always create their own ambiguities so they can play out their own crippling ambivalence.

He's an actor. Actors are all weird, especially the good ones. The one excellent actor I know is completely unfit for human society. After 10 minutes, he decompensates. It's as long as he can go on faking it.

On second thought ...

Methadras said...

I was reading that until I got to the name of Christopher Walken, then I internally monologued it in Christopher Walken voice. I'm even reading the comments in that voice. Come on, who hasn't done that yet.