Magazine article Screen International

Christopher Walken Says He Fell into Acting 'By Accident'

Magazine article Screen International

Christopher Walken Says He Fell into Acting 'By Accident'

Article excerpt

Oscar-winning actor discussed his career at Antalya Film Festival.

Christopher Walken

Veteran actor Christopher Walken revealed in a masterclass at Turkey’s Antalya International Film Festival on Sunday that he fell into acting and cinema “by accident” after his ambitious Glasgow-born mother put him on the stage in New York as child.

“My mother was a smitten by show business. She wanted to be in show business, but she came to America from Europe and wasn’t possible. But she had three sons and she took them into show business and television which was getting started in New York,” said Walken.

“Everything was live. There were no video tapes. There were 90 TV shows out of New York every week. All of them were live. And they used a lot of kids and I was one of them.”

The Deer Hunter star explained that like many boys of his generation in New York at the time, he took tap dance classes, which also aided his move into the vibrant musical scene of the 1950s.

“It was very typical, instead of going to play baseball or learn to play the piano. The kids learned to dance and as I got older, I did that for a living.”

“I was a dancer. I got out of high school and I began to work in musical theatre in New York and did touring… I did things like West Side Story. I got a job in a play, I did some other plays and then someone gave me a job in a movie. I became an actor by accident.”

Walken’s first big screen appearance was in Sydney Lumet’s 1971 Mafia-themed drama The Anderson Tapes.

“I was very lucky. It was with Sean Connery and lots of good New York actors. I had a very small part. It was called ‘the kid’,”

After this brief taste of working in cinema, Walken did not get another big screen break for another five years, he revealed, but his theatre background sustained him during this time.

“I went back to the theatre. I worked in regional theatre in various places, in Canada… I just kept working and I was also unemployed a lot… They didn’t want me. That’s show business. Actors, even successful actors, don’t work very much. Most of the time, they just sit and wait. …

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