Christopher Walken, an actor who’s appeared in more than 100 movies and TV episodes, personifies cool. Even when he first terrified us as Duane Hall, the younger brother who longs to drive his car off the road and be enveloped in “flames rising out of the flowing gasoline” in Annie Hall in 1977, we loved him.
Born in the Astoria section of New York City in 1943, Walken, the son of a baker, started acting as a child and kept returning to it. He dropped out of college to take a part in an off-Broadway play, trained as a dancer, and started getting roles in soap operas and television series. He is one of the most prolific performers in the film industry with roles in The Deer Hunter, The Prophecy trilogy, The Dogs of War, Brainstorm, The Dead Zone, A View to a Kill, True Romance , Pulp Fiction , Catch Me If You Can, King of New York, Hairspray, and Seven Psychopaths, as well as music videos by many popular recording artists.
Moreover, this actor has a long history of spoken-word pieces, reading different stories and lyrics in his unique voice and one-of-a-kind timing. We’ve heard him read the lyrics to “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga and “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, we’ve seen him reminisce on Saturday Night Live, and heard him sub in for Leonard Lopate on the radio.
But standing above them all is Christopher Walken reading “The Three Little Pigs.”
Back In 1993, he made an appearance on Channel 4’s “Saturday Zoo” in the UK. Dressed in an old-fashioned patchwork colorful sweater, Walken was supposed to read a segment from the popular fairy tale “The Three Little Pigs.” According to host Jonathan Ross, Walken was finally able to “fulfill his lifelong ambition to come on national TV and entertain children”.
But he wouldn’t be Christopher Walken if he just plainly read the story as it is. He added his own unique and hilarious deadpan spin to the story.
Take a look:
His reading is so captivating that it makes one hope that he might record and release some audio books. Others are obsessed with his reading style. Walken was even the inspiration for the stage show All About Walken: The Impersonators of Christopher Walken, which was created by actor/comedian Patrick O’Sullivan in California in 2006.
These different yet successful outbreaks in Walken’s career don’t come as a complete surprise, considering the fact that his acting career focused on musical comedies in the beginning. As Walken himself has explained, “My background is in musical comedy. I didn’t know I was going to be an actor. But all my points of reference have to do with musical comedy and in being kind of a show-off. I’ve always played comedy and that’s really where my training is. As an actor, that’s my training.”
Walken has received a number of awards and nominations during his career, including winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1978 for his portrayal of Nikanor “Nick” Chebotarevich in The Deer Hunter.
His films have grossed more than $1 billion in the United States. He is noted for refusing movie roles only rarely, having stated in interviews that he will decline a role only if he is simply too busy on other projects to take it. He regards each role as a learning experience.
“I’d love to do a character with a wife, a nice little house, a couple of kids, a dog, maybe a bit of singing, and no guns and no killing, but nobody offers me those kind of parts,” Walken once said.