What 13 People Who Worked With Christopher Walken Say About Him

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Vote up the Christopher Walken stories that are truly, let's say, "unique."

It's hard to separate Christopher Walken the character from Christopher Walken the person. Both on screen and off, he's a strange-talking eccentric who's relaxed enough to be endearing rather than terrifying (with a few exceptions). Most of the following statements by Walken's co-workers corroborate this view, but they offer an additional vista that fans haven't seen: professionalism.

Enjoy these Christopher Walken stories from the people who saw the good, weird, and efficient sides of the legendary actor.  

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  • 1
    1,688 VOTES

    David Dobkin Wanted Walken For 'Wedding Crashers' Because He 'Wouldn’t Have To Lift A Finger To Make People Scared Of Him'

    David Dobkin directed Wedding Crashers and chose Christopher Walken to play US Secretary William Cleary. He didn't want a pure comedian for the role; instead, he wanted someone who was naturally intimidating:

    Chris Walken was someone I really believed in. [New Line] wasn’t sure why I wasn’t picking someone who wasn’t purely comedic for the role. Burt Reynolds was hot off Boogie Nights, but I just said, “I see Walken,” because I knew I wouldn’t have to lift a finger to make people scared of him. He’s already doing that heavy lifting for me.

    Dobkin also needed Walken for his acting skills:  

    He’s also one of the greatest actors alive, so at the end of the movie - when you’re going to have those tiny moments between him and [Claire] that really need to count  - you know he’s going to be real and he’s going to ground it.

  • 2
    2,327 VOTES

    Spike Jonze Said, 'I Could Tell He Just Loved Dancing’ When Walken Agreed To Be In A Fatboy Slim Video In His Late '50s

    Spike Jonze Said, 'I Could Tell He Just Loved Dancing’ When Walken Agreed To Be In A Fatboy Slim Video In His Late '50s
    Photo: Weapon of Choice / Skint Records

    Spike Jonze has had an eclectic career, having directed/produced everything from skateboarding videos to Jackass to Oscar-winning films like Adaptation and Her. But his weirdest project might be Fatboy Slim's video of "Weapon of Choice" starring a dancing Christopher Walken.

    Jonze directed Walken in the short and has some interesting takeaways from that experience:

    I could tell he just loved dancing and nobody ever asked him to dance. He told me he started in Broadway in the chorus line, dancing in these big musical numbers in the '60s or whenever it was. 

    For proof, watch the video here.

  • 3
    3,380 VOTES

    Quentin Tarantino Felt ‘Embarrassed’ When Walken Memorized Every Single Word Of A Lengthy ‘True Romance’ Speech

    While commentating on True Romance, which was the first major studio film he wrote, Quentin Tarantino praised Christopher Walken's performance in the famous "Sicilian Scene."  

    Aside from [a little bit of improv], everything they said in the scene was scripted - so much so that Christopher Walken has so much dialogue in this. And I almost got embarrassed the first time I saw the scene... because he memorized every line — every single little tiny word he said, and he said perfectly. And it was almost intimidating that such a terrific actor would take my work so seriously as to... never make up anything, never smooth out everything, just say every "so," "the," "uh," and "they." He did them all, and it was quite terrific.

  • 4
    2,437 VOTES

    Michael Imperioli Said Walken Stood Behind The Camera Doing His Lines Even In The Shots Where They Were Just Getting The Extras’ Reactions

    Michael Imperioli Said Walken Stood Behind The Camera Doing His Lines Even In The Shots Where They Were Just Getting The Extras’ Reactions
    Photo: Last Man Standing / New Line Cinema

    Before he made waves as Christopher Moltisanti in The Sopranos, Michael Imperioli had a supporting role alongside Christopher Walken in 1996's Last Man Standing. A departure from the usual testimonials about an unusual Walken, Imperioli commented on his professionalism

    What [Walken] did particularly blew me away... You shoot a scene and you have the two main actors. And you shoot our coverage. Then you have extras in the scene... The director might start shooting angles on extras to get their reaction. So when you cut the scene, you have a lot of different [options]... Chris Walken was behind the camera doing his lines for extras’ reactions... Not only doing his lines; doing it bigger to be even more generous to these guys. Now that’s a pro. That blew my mind.

  • 5
    1,954 VOTES

    Keir O’Donnell Said Walken Gave Him A Ride To The Set Every Day - But Also Might’ve Been Messing With Him

    Keir O’Donnell Said Walken Gave Him A Ride To The Set Every Day - But Also Might’ve Been Messing With Him
    Photo: Wedding Crashers / New Line Cinema

    Keir O'Donnell played Todd, the eccentric son of US Secretary William Cleary (Christopher Walken) in Wedding Crashers. However, Walken seems to be more like O'Donnell's character in real life than O'Donnell is.

    Here's how the young actor described working with the bizarre star:

    At a certain point, he really treated me as his own son. When we were shooting out in Maryland, I started to get a little bit of time off. I got a knock on my trailer door, and it was Christopher Walken’s driver. The trailers were a little far from set, so they would drive him to set. The driver was like, “Mr. Walken is going to set right now, and he wants to know if you wanted a ride.” I was like, “I don’t think I’m shooting right now.” But he said, “Oh no, he requested you. Can you go with him?”

    I go out, and there’s Walken sitting in the back of this Lincoln Town Car. I get in the back, and he just looks at me and smiles. He doesn’t say anything. We just drive up to set, and they drop us off.

    After that, it started happening every day. He’d get called to the set, I’d get a knock on the door from his driver and he’d say, “Mr. Walken is going to the set, and he wants to know if you wanted a ride.” I still don’t know to this day if he was just messing with me, or if he liked the company, even though we never said a word to each other. Either way, it was a special moment for me.

    O'Donnell summed him up perfectly: "The more that you hang around with Walken, the more you realize that even if you did get an answer, you’ll constantly question if that was reality or not. That’s the magic that is Christopher Walken."

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    1,959 VOTES

    Leonardo DiCaprio Thought Walken Was Having A Heart Attack When He Improvised In A Scene

    Leonardo DiCaprio Thought Walken Was Having A Heart Attack When He Improvised In A Scene
    Photo: Catch Me If You Can / DreamWorks Pictures

    Christopher Walken played Leonardo DiCaprio's father in Catch Me If You Can, and, as DiCaprio explained to IGN, he improvised the moment where he starts hyperventilating:

    I actually had a scene with him where it was one of my most memorable experiences making films - I remember, and I don't know if you remember the scene, but - the scene where I come back to see my dad and he's talking about my mom, and all of a sudden, he [DiCaprio wincing in pain; he falters]... he like kind of hyperventilates. And I was sitting there across the table from him while he was doing that, and it was completely unexpected. It wasn't in the script. It was his own... completely his own doing.

    I thought the man was having a heart attack in front of me. I honestly was about two seconds away from saying, "Cut! There's something wrong with Chris!"

    It's a testament to how he is as an actor. I was blown away. It is [one of those times] where you have a cinematic experience like that, where you are so forced into the world where you think that it's actual reality.