Oscar-winning actor Christopher Walken, one of the most revered talents of his generation and a veteran of film, television and stage, will portray the iconic Captain Hook in NBC’s Dec. 4 telecast of “Peter Pan Live!”
“We are absolutely delighted that Christopher Walken will be putting his unique stamp on Captain Hook for our holiday musical event ‘Peter Pan Live!,’” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “He’s not only one of the most versatile actors in our business, but his love of musicals and uncanny abilities as a dancer make him perfect for stepping into this classic James M. Barrie character. Get ready to be charmed, amused, frightened and dazzled by Captain Hook in an entirely original way.”
“We’re so happy to reunite with Chris, who starred in our film version of ‘Hairspray,’” said “Peter Pan Live!” executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. “The exhilarating thing about doing these live musicals is giving the stage to a thrilling performer like Chris, and seeing his once-in-a-lifetime performance unfold at the same moment the audience is watching at home.”
Added Walken: “I started my career in musicals and it’s wonderful after all this time, at this point in my career, to be in this classic musical I watched as a child and to work with Neil Meron and Craig Zadan again after ‘Hairspray.’ It’s a chance to put on my tap shoes again.”
The multi-talented Walken — whose iconoclastic career began on the Broadway stage in musicals — has appeared in more than 100 combined feature films and television shows. He won the Academy Award for his riveting role in the Oscar-winning best picture “The Deer Hunter” and was Oscar-nominated for Steven Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can.”
Some of his other many memorable film performances include “Sleepy Hollow,” “The Dead Zone,” “A View to a Kill,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Wayne’s World,” “True Romance” and “Annie Hall.”
He’s also jumped off the screen in a number of film musicals, including “Hairspray,” where he performed “(You’re) Timeless to Me,” and “You Can’t Stop the Beat” alongside John Travolta. He danced a show-stopping routine to “Let’s Misbehave” in the Steve Martin film “Pennies From Heaven” and is currently seen dancing again in Clint Eastwood’s screen version of the smash Broadway hit “Jersey Boys.”
For his role in “Hairspray,” Walken and his cast won the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. Award, the Hollywood Film Festival Award, the Palm Springs Intl. Film Festival Award and were nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Walken received an Emmy Award nomination for outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or special for his role in the Hallmark Hall of Fame special “Sarah, Plain and Tall,” which co-starred Glenn Close. His many prominent TV credits range from guest-starring on the Emmy Award-winning series “30 Rock” to “American Playhouse.”
On the late-night front, Walken has been one of the most popular and anticipated hosts of NBC’s venerable institution “Saturday Night Live.” He has hosted seven times, performed song-and-dance numbers and shared the stages with some of “SNL’s” most beloved cast members.
Walken’s theater credits are impressive. He’s performed on Broadway in 13 different productions, and was Tony Award-nominated in 2000 for the musical “James Joyce’s The Dead” as well as for the 2010 play “A Behanding in Spokane,” in which he ironically also played a man with a severed hand.
Walken won the Drama Desk Award for his performance in “Lemon Sky” and the World Theatre World Award for “The Rose Tattoo.”
He has also become known for his performances in music videos, starring in productions that featured songs from Madonna and Skid Row. In fact, he did his own choreography for the memorable Fatboy Slim video “Weapon of Choice” for which he won the MTV Video Music Award for best choreography.
In addition to serving as executive producers of “Peter Pan Live!,” the multi-award winning Zadan and Meron produced NBC’s blockbuster and Emmy-nominated “The Sound of Music Live!” as well as several musicals on Broadway, television and film.
The original Broadway production of “Peter Pan,” directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins and featuring the iconic songs “I’m Flying,” “I’ve Gotta Crow,” “I Won’t Grow Up,” and “Never Never Land,” opened on Broadway in 1954. The show had a book by J.M. Barrie and a score by Mark “Moose” Charlap & Carolyn Lee, with additional songs by Jule Styne & Betty Comden and Adolph Green.
It starred Mary Martin as Peter and Cyril Richard as Captain Hook, both of whom won Tony Awards for their performances.