When our name is Christopher Walken and we audition at the end of the 70s to play in the “Star Wars” saga, we tell ourselves that things will unfold easily. Yet, a great actor that he is, he failed miserably, letting another legendary comedian play the role he wanted.
Christopher Walken: revolver eyes
Before embarking on a brilliant career on the big screen, Christopher Walken started on the boards. It was undoubtedly his many Broadway plays, from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, that gave him this often-judged interpretation. extremely demonstrative and theatrical. In the early 1970s, the actor made his debut in the cinema, crowned with a certain status acquired on the stage of the theater. Success will come very quickly in 1977, when he realizes a moving performance in Journey to the end of Hell. Facing Robert de Niro and in front of Michael Cimino’s camera, Christopher Walken excels. He thus won his first (and only) Oscar.
Subsequently, he pursued a brilliant career, preferring more independent films to big blockbusters. His slim physique and his brutal gaze mean that he often gets the roles of “bad guys”. We will see it in particular in Dangerously your, where he will play the enemy of James Bond. In the 90s, he impressed in two feature films: King of New York (from Abel Ferrara) and above all Batman, the Challenge where he is scary in the skin of billionaire manipulator Max Schrek.
Always motivated to play rots, he enters the list of the best villains in the history of cinema, established by the magazine Empire. And this, thanks to his interpretation of the vicious gangster Vincenzo Coccotti in True Romance. In the 2010s, it will be more discreet. However, we will retain his role in Stop me if you can and her dancing skills in the music video for Fatboy slim, Weapon of Choice. Appreciated for its professionalism and thoroughness, Christopher Walken is one of the last monsters of American drama.
The actor puts his failure into perspective
The same year as Journey to the end of Hell, came out a film that will forever change the history of cinema: Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope. A film for which Christopher Walken auditioned. But not for just any role since he wanted to play the smuggler Han Solo. He wasn’t the only great actor who wanted the role at the time, however. Indeed, he had in front of him Harrison Ford, but also James Caan, Kurt Russell, and even Sylvester Stallone!
Finally, it is Harrison Ford who gets the role and will definitely launch his career. In an interview for The Independent, Christopher Walken returns to this messed up hearing. And according to him, there was absolutely no chance he would get the part :
I don’t think I nearly got the job. About 500 other actors auditioned, so it wasn’t like I was facing someone else.
In the same interview, he also looks back on another audition for a famous movie that he missed. That of Love story where he auditioned to play Oliver Barrett. In the end, it’s Ryan O’Neal who will get the role and will even be nominated for an Oscar for best actor for his performance. However, then again, Walken is lucid about his performance:
Either way, I was lucky because I would have been horrible in those movies.
It is true that, without removing the talent of Christopher Walken, his interpretation in the skin of Han Solo would undoubtedly have sounded a little wrong. A dose of bragging would have been welcome, something the actor is arguably less comfortable with than a Harrison Ford. This obviously does not detract from the monstrous career of the American actor.