Walken Hook?

Walken HookI’ve been watching the commercials for the upcoming live TV performance of Peter Pan starring Allison Williams as Pan and Christopher Walken as Hook.

Walken as Hook? That sounded wrong to me the moment I heard about it. I’ve loved him in everything I’ve seen him in, but I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around him as Captain Hook in a lighthearted musical comedy. The bits I hear and see in the commercials don’t do anything to help matters. His reading of the lines sounds wrong to me! The pacing and energy level don’t play well for me at all.

The question is: casting brilliance or casting mistake?

I’m going with mistake, but I’m probably wrong, and it will turn out well. (This post is just my attempt to let out the weirdness.)

Walken dance

Jazz Hands!

The surprising thing is that Walken originally trained as a dancer in musical theatre and has experience as a choreographer. He’s appeared in some stage musicals and even in some musical videos.

But hearing that distinctive Christopher Walken voice and diction reading Hook’s lines is really, really weird to me.

I think it’s the energy level thing. Walken has a kind of laid back low-key style. It can be very menacing, so he does make an excellent villain. And he is an excellent actor with a great deal of range.

The brilliance may come from casting against type and creating something different and unique.

I hate different and unique!

Allison Williams

Hello “Peter”!

No, I’m kidding (honestly). What I meant to say is that I love different and unique and have pursued them my entire life. I’m either growing into my curmudgeonhood here or there’s just something about this that strikes me wrong.

[Plus winter cold and darkness plus the whole “season thing” kind of have me off my feed anyway and not really into posting anything serious. Not sure I’m really into posting anything at all, so this is what you get today.]

As long as I’m pointlessly complaining, I’m tempted to add that Allison Williams makes a very feminine Peter Pan to my eye… but Mary Martin kinda trumps her on that, so there is certainly precedent. (As a side note, she’s the daughter of well-known (and well-regarded) journalist Brian Williams.)

Mary Martin

Mary “Peter Pan” Martin

Meh, whatever. Ain’t no big thang. I’m pretty obviously outside the intended demographic, so not only is my opinion on this likely wrong, it’s utterly moot.

But it’s my blog and I’ll moot if I want to.

I’m not sure I’ll watch… Baseball is about the only TV I watch in real time anymore. I rely on OnDemand for most of the shows I follow.

There is also that I was never a fan of the Peter Pan story anyway. It never really did anything for me — none of the Disney-type stuff ever did. I’m not sure I was ever really young enough to appreciate it.

(Wizard of Oz is another one I never got into even as a kid — I was into science fiction from nearly when I began reading, and it kind of ruined me for “kiddie” stories. Winnie the Pooh and his British reflection, Paddington Bear, were the only childhood stories that ever really grabbed me. Pooh still does.)

Minnie DriverOn the other hand, Minnie Driver narrates and plays adult Wendy, and I have a long-standing mini-crush on Minnie Driver (and, yes, I do follow About A Boy — it’s not bad).

So who knows — I’ll have to check my “busy schedule.” Part of me rejects the idea of “television events” or the idea of tuning in just to see what happens. They count on that to sell ads (which is what it’s really all about), and I like to confound those expectations. (Why, yes, I am a Contrarian. How did you know? I was also once a Librarian even though my sign isn’t in Libra.)

Maybe after it airs (this Thursday) someone can come back and tell me what they thought.

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

22 responses to “Walken Hook?

  • Doobster418

    Same thing occurred to me about casting Walken as Hook. Does not compute. And, no, I won’t be watching it live. I probably won’t even watch it via On Demand. Just not that interested.

  • Hariod Brawn

    I’m worried W.S., not that you’re casting aspersions on the, er, . . . Casting Director of this production, but that had they chosen someone other than Walken, you would have given your time to watching. Then again, anything to make a pointless complaint eh? But wait a minute, what am I doing pointlessly complaining about your pointless complaint? o_O I’ll change tack: please switch off the sodding snow! It makes commenting and reading a pain; and it makes me think I’ve got a neurological disorder.

    Happy Christmas!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Yes, Minnie might well have driven me to it, were it not for the Walken Hook.

      Not only a pointless complaint, but a pointless complaint I’m not even totally behind. As I said, more just letting the weirdness out. It also served the purpose of trying to overcome the lethargy that comes on when I don’t post for a while. The longer I don’t post, the harder it is to start again. And — bonus — it lets me know I’m not the only one whose eyebrows when up at the casting choice.

      Sorry about the snow, but I like it, so it stays. Besides, WordPress seems to have conferred awesome god-like powers on me, and I’m afraid to mess with them too much. (See this news story for details.)

      It’s just about time to start listening to my rock-n-roll and jazz Christmas songs playlist! Thank you for your wish; likewise! Christmas has a bit of the melancholy for me, so I’m more prone to quietly observe the Winter Solstice and to Celebrate Chillaxmas! (See why here.)

    • Wyrd Smythe

      D’oh! I just realized I missed a golden opportunity.

      I should have written: Snow on my blog? What snow? XD

      • Hariod Brawn

        You wicked man you! You wouldn’t ever pull my leg would you? Now that’s an evil thing to do. 😈

        Tina below has just delivered a mind-warping post over at her place; thank god she didn’t switch the snow on – try thinking through Husserl’s phenomenology in the midst of a snowstorm!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Who me? I plead total innocence and I’ll take that fifth…

        I keep meaning to pop over to Tina’s but I’m already behind on serious blog reading. I hate to “dabble” when it comes to a serious writer, you know? [sigh] So many interesting blogs, so little time for reading.

        What would be kinda neat about the blogsnow would be if piles of it accumulated down at the bottom and built up in the corners. Maybe once in a while a little cartoon person could come out and shovel. 😀

      • Hariod Brawn

        Yeah, make it interactive too; so, if you didn’t approve of a post’s content you could walk a dog over to the snow drifts and leave a message in yellow.

  • rung2diotimasladder

    I’m still laughing at “I’ll moot if I want to.”

    Yeah, honestly, I’m not really into Peter Pan and I can only list a few actor’s names, so there’s no way I’d really have an opinion here. I really don’t know how all this will turn out or if I’ll even see it. I may be a little too bah-humbug for this, but I CAN do jazz hands anyway!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Well, there ya go; it’s important to have marketable skills!

      I suspect we’re just not in the intended demographic. It’s probably more for the sort of people who not only buy Christmas sweaters but feel perfectly comfortable actually wearing them.

      I was thinking maybe Christopher Walken could do a good Scrooge (or maybe Jacob Marley), but the more I thought about it the more I think his energy level just seems wrong for any Christmas story. Those (even something as heavy as A Christmas Carol) are all kind of sparkly and twinkly lights. Walken… isn’t. I’m not even sure he could pull of a Christmas-stealing Grinch! Jim Carey was great casting for that — exactly the right energy level.

  • reocochran

    Oh, so happy to see you love Minnie Driver, W.S. I agree she is quite fun and really puts her ‘all into her performances.’ Have you ever seen her with Eddie Izzard in the t.v. series, The Riches? I loved this and wonder if they have episodes of it on youtube?

    Anyway, she was almost unrecognizable in “Circle of Friends” as a young woman and I liked her as the one who came to stay in the movie where she does eventually make a good impression. (She is off from a train wreck, need to look this up, it is bothering me… smile!)

    I am not exactly a huge fan of Peter Pan, but my parents liked it, so we watched it. There weren’t as many choices then. I liked Mary Martin (also in South Pacific) and did you ever see the Sandy Duncan version of Peter Pan? I liked her as Peter, too! Well, I will let you know about Christopher Walken… and the rest of the cast later…

    • Wyrd Smythe

      No, sorry, not familiar with any of the ones you cited. (I’ve definitely never seen Sandy Duncan at Peter Pan.) I have seen her in Grosse Point Blank (a favorite of mine), High Heels and Low Lives, and — of course — Good Will Hunting. She had a (delightful) re-occurring role on Will & Grace for a while, too.

      Sounds like a deal. You watch Peter Pan Live! and report back. Then I won’t have to! Thanks!! 😀

  • reocochran

    I liked Christopher Walken in the ‘Stand Up Guys’ movie, W.S. I saw it up at Mom’s and my brother, Randy, liked it, too. Mom was okay with it, but it is also sad… so could not find Minnie’s movie about being a person invading a home and making her future mother in law like her… so sorry. Not even on Wikipedia… take care!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      “Minnie’s movie about being a person invading a home and making her future mother in law like her…”

      Yeah, that’s not much to do on. Any other clues? Other actors? Recent movie or older? Names of any characters? Comedy or drama? We need information! 🙂

      • reocochran

        Guess what? I found out an entirely different but wacky character (but no, not pretty in the Minnie D. sense) was in this movie. Won’t tell you since you will disparage me and mention how could I possibly switch Minnie with this other famous actress… ha ha!

        Anyway, I think that the casting director for Peter Pan, has watched too many Pirates movies, where the pirates are not so manly and vicious but more like Johnny Depp. So, Christopher Walken was just fine in the slightly dramatic, speaking instead of singing Captain Hook. I loved Minnie D’s cute crouched poses in her skimpy costume, you would have loved these scenes. The times when Wendy is singing are beautiful and warming to this person’s memory and heart. I liked her playing the ‘mother’ role to the Lost Boys. The Neverland scenes were gorgeous and dancing/choreography was very exciting. So, completely satisfied. Sandy Duncan was a fun and spunky Peter Pan, different from Mary Martin but showing a little bit more zap and not so operatic in her singing voice, too. Take care!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I’m glad you enjoyed it (and thanks for coming back and reporting on it)! Wow, I have no idea what actress you mean… I even went to the IMDB full cast listing and didn’t see any name that sprung out. No fair! Tell!! 😀

        You know, it’s funny you mention the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. From the clips and pictures I saw, I was thinking Captain Hook looks a bit on the foppish side and did remind me of those movies.

        Why am I not surprised they put Minnie Driver in a skimpy costume! (Too bad I missed it.) 😛

        Wait… was Sandy Duncan in this, too? Is that who you mean?

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