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Honor Roll 2012: Christopher Walken On 'Psychopaths,' 'A Late Quartet,' 'Heaven's Gate' and Why He Talks Like That

Photo of Eric Kohn By Eric Kohn | Indiewire December 13, 2012 at 10:41AM

Honor Roll is a daily series running throughout December that features new or previously published interviews, profiles and first-person stories of some of the year's most notable cinematic voices. Today, we're running a new interview with Christopher Walken, currently acclaimed for his performance in "A Late Quaret," now in theaters.
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Seven Psychopaths

Is it true that you really take on virtually every role you're offered?

Well, there are things that I don't want to do and that happens, but I'm inclined to say "yes." I don't have kids, I don't have hobbies, I don’t like to travel. I’m happiest when I'm in my house getting ready to do a part. It's a great way to make a living, and a good way to stay busy. I don't do everything that comes along, but I'm inclined to want to go to work. And I've certainly done plenty of things that I don't think worked out very well, but there’s a certain aspect of just having a go at it and hoping that it works. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. But that's a chance I take, and sometimes things work better than other times. To me there’s always been an element of luck in what I do.

I wanted to ask you about "Heaven’s Gate" since there's the new Criterion DVD out with the director's cut, and it seems to be getting a whole new wave of attention. What do you make of the legacy of that film, and do you think it’s better and a good thing that this new other cut of the film is now being presented to the world?

"I don't know if you'd call cooking a hobby. I'm not sure that you eat your hobby."

I wasn’t there, but I was told there was a screening for a big audience in New York a couple of months ago...

Yes, at the New York Film Festival.

...and it’s supposed to have gone really well, and that movie in some sense has been vindicated. I always thought it was good and never really understood the beating that it took at the time. I don’t know how old you are, but that movie seemed disproportionately beat up at the time, including by people in the business. I never understood that. It always seemed extreme. It certainly was always a beautiful movie to look out. Often things are not as bad as they are touted to me and also not as good as they are touted to me. It's always a little too much one way or the other.

READ MORE: Honor Roll 2012: Matthew McConaughey Wants a Viagra Study, Has an 18 Handicap and Thinks You've Got to "Enjoy the Architecture"

Let me shift gears to bring up something that I know is a much more serious endeavor for you: Your "Cooking with Christopher Walken" show.

The one with Richard Belzer? (laughs) It was earlier in the summer and Will Ferrell has this company "Funny or Die" and I know him a little bit. They called and I had cooked a chicken at my house and somebody videoed it and put it on YouTube, and I think you can still punch that up, and I think it came from that. And then I called Richard Belzer, who is a friend of mine, and I said there’s no script, no preparation, basically all we do is show up. And the idea is we'll just buy a chicken and cook it and eat it, and they made some additions like having the girls there. It was very improptu, very extremely improvised. We never discussed anything we were gonna do.

You said before you didn’t have any hobbies but I would have listed cooking among them until you said that.

I don't know if you'd call cooking a hobby. I'm not sure that you eat your hobby, but I suppose it could be called a hobby, yeah. It's also more just a way of life.

You've got a lot of stuff in the pipeline, from the Fisher Stevens film to "Power of the Few" and your upcoming role as Zeus. Is an endgame at this point in your career, or are you still just taking things as they come?

I take things as they come. I hope that I can do a play once in a while, and continue to get different and good parts in movies. As I get older, I don't feel old. Thirty years ago I would've thought where I am now is old, but then I think about actors like Christopher Plummer and Michael Caine and these guys just keep going. That’s what I'd like to do: Take care of myself and live a long time and continue to be an actor until I drop.

And keep cooking.

I hope so.

Watch "Cooking With Christopher Walken" below:

Cooking with Christopher Walken from Christopher Walken

This article is related to: Honor Roll 2012, Features, Christopher Walken, Seven Psychopaths, A Late Quartet, Dark Horse, Martin McDonagh, Todd Solondz, Heaven's Gate, Interviews





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