Oscar winner Christopher Walken is ready to terrify small children and to share a live “Tarantella” with America.
NBC announced on Sunday (July 13) morning that although the network has yet to secure a Peter Pan or Wendy for its “Peter Pan Live!,” the network has cast the “Deer Hunter” star as Captain Hook.
“We are absolutely delighted that Christopher Walken will be putting his unique stamp on Captain Hook for our holiday musical event ‘Peter Pan Live!,”” blurbs 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.”
Add “Peter Pan Live!” producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, “We”re so happy to reunite with Chris, who starred in our film version of ‘Hairspray.' 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.”
Although he's still best known for his creepy intensity in movies including “The Dead Zone,” “True Romance” and “Disney's Country Bears,” we're well past the point at which we're shocked to be reminded of Walken's background in musical theater.
A Tony nominee for “James Joyce' The Dead,” Walken has done “Pennies From Heaven” and “Hairspray” on the big screen, as well as the current musical “Jersey Boys.” And, of course, we'll always celebrate his tap-dancing in Fatboy Slim's “Weapon of Choice” video.
Walken states, “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 major adversary in the 1954 “Peter Pan” musical, Captain Hook can be heard singing in songs like “Hook's Tarantella,” “Pirate Song” and “Oh, My Mysterious Lady.”
“Peter Pan Live!” will air on NBC on December 4, following in the footsteps of last December's smash “Sound of Music Live!”
In the scrum after the executive session, Greenblatt mentioned that Peter Pan will, indeed, be played by a woman (there was some ambiguity on that issue when NBC met with the press back in January) and referred to at least one A-lister who won't be playing the leader of the Lost Boys: “Veronica Mars” star and chirpy “Frozen” voice Kristen Bell wasn't able to commit to what is a four-plus month commitment, but there were conversations with her.
Greenblatt suggested that they're close to securing the right person for the project. So stay tuned…
Excited by the prospect of a hooked Christopher Walken? Sad about missing out on Kristen Bell as Pan?