Christopher Walken has been in show business for just about his entire life. No, literally - his first photo shoot was at the age of 14 months. His career really took off in the late 1970s, when he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in The Deer Hunter.
Since then, Walken's filmography has primarily featured odd or dangerous roles - men on the edge. However, based on his interviews and public appearances, his actual persona is anything but wild. He enjoys living in the country with his wife of more than 50 years, and owns neither a computer nor a cell phone. The following are a selection of facts about actor Christopher Walken. Vote up the ones that genuinely surprise you.
- Photo: Star Wars / 20th Century Fox
To hear Chris Walken tell it, he was simply one among many actors who auditioned - or were considered - for the role of Han Solo in the original Star Wars. Yet, according to the book How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, Walken was George Lucas's second choice for the role.
The director was initially reluctant to cast Harrison Ford, because he'd already used him in his previous film, American Graffiti. Allegedly, even after Lucas cast Ford as the charming space smuggler, he was still considering giving the part to Walken.Surprised?
- Photo: Brainstorm / MGM/UA Entertainment Company2
He Doesn't Own A Computer Or Cell Phone
"Sometimes on a movie they'll give me a cell phone, but it's more so that they can find me... like a tracking collar," Walken told Late Show host Stephen Colbert in December 2020. "If I want to use it, someone has to dial it for me, that kind of thing."
Walken and Colbert spoke during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, so the interview had to be conducted via Zoom. Walken explained that someone had to come to his house to set up the digital connection.Surprised?
- Photo: Batman Returns / Warner Bros.3
He Steals His Clothes From Movie Sets
In a 2010 interview with the Independent, Christopher Walken freely admitted to swiping his clothes from movie sets. In fact, he showed up to the interview wearing a suit jacket from his 1990 film The Comfort of Strangers. Allegedly, he's been doing this for years.
"I never buy clothes," Walken says in the interview. "Whenever I do a movie, all my clothing is from that movie set. They don't give me anything. I steal..."
Walken intended to take a handful of garments from the set of Batman Returns when he finished filming his scenes. Unfortunately for the actor, the crew was one step ahead of him. As he explains, "When I finished the last scene I went back to my dressing room and everything was gone. They saw me coming..."Surprised?
- Photo: Next Stop, Greenwich Village / 20th Century Fox4
His Real Name Is Ronald
Christopher Walken was born Ronald Walken, and is still known as "Ronnie" by his family and childhood friends.
The name "Christopher" was bestowed on Walken by Monique van Vooren, a Belgian cabaret singer, seemingly on a whim. Walken told the Tulsa World that, early in his career, he served as one of her backup dancers. As the story goes:
One night, before introducing him to the audience, [van Vooren] turned to him and said: "You know, Ronnie is OK. But I think tonight I call you Christopher. I like Christopher," and with that he was christened with his stage name.
"I just said, 'Cool!' " [Walken] recalled... "She was so gorgeous. Really hot, let's face it, that's the word," he said. "She had that European thing."Surprised?