NBC has tapped Christopher Walken to play Captain Hook in its next big live musical special, Peter Pan. The network’s entertainment chairman, Robert Greensblatt, announced the surprising casting at the Television Critics Association tour this past weekend.
It may seem out of character for Walken to take on a role like this. While he’s appeared in a wide range of films and TV shows throughout his lengthy career, the actor is largely known for taking on more dramatic roles. His turn in The Deer Hunter won him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1978 and since then, he’s gone on to appear in The Dogs of War, Pulp Fiction, Catch Me if You Can (which again earned him an Oscar nomination), A Late Quartet, and dozens more titles.
But the actor has also had plenty of experience in parts that involve singing and dancing. In addition to having hosted NBC’S Saturday Night Live seven times, he starred in 2007’s Hairspray and this year’s biographical musical drama Jersey Boys. Walken has also appeared in 13 Broadway plays, including the Tony-award winning Broadway musical James Joyce’s The Dead. This new gig, based on James M. Barrie’s beloved book and musical, is set to reunite him with Hairspray producers Craiz Zadan and Neil Meron.
“He might really just be a song and dance man at heart,” Greenblatt told the press of the casting. “I guarantee you he’s going to bring his own spin to Captain Hook. He might be the first tap-dancing Captain Hook.”