We’ve sourced some of the most interesting and thought-provoking Christopher Walken Quotes. Each of the following quotes is overflowing with creativity, and knowledge.
I was never a child actor. I was a child performer.
I come from a part of New York that was almost entirely immigrants. I was born in America, but all of my friends’ parents, everybody’s parents, including my own, had come to America from Europe.
Usually directors hire me because I’m what they are looking for. But once in a while, and it’s very rare, they will hire me and then try to make me over.
At its best, life is completely unpredictable.
I think that if I had grown up and had been in show business and the movies twenty five, thirty years earlier, I think I would have made a lot more musical movies.
I like to go to work, and also, I don’t have any kids. I don’t have any hobbies. I don’t like to travel. So going to work is kind of it.
I’ve never crashed a wedding. When I was a kid I, of course, used to crash parties. Crashing a wedding is difficult though because you have to have the suit, and you have to have information in case someone catches you. You have to know at least some names and something.
Yeah, well I’ve always played comedy. My background is musical comedy theatre and that’s really where my training is. As an actor, that’s my training.
An actor really is a kind of intermediary between an audience and the piece, whether it’s a play or movie.
Even in the limo, I buckle my seatbelt. I got that seatbelt on before the car moves.
I think early on I knew what I was going to do and it was based a lot on familiarity but it was also because I didn’t have a lot of skills. There was nothing I wanted t be. I didn’t want to be a doctor. I wanted to be in show business.
When I was a kid, I worked in the circus. It was a touring circus that was owned by a man named Terrell Jacobs. It was just one big tent, and he was a lion tamer. He didn’t have any kids, but the bit was that I would dress up as his son in an identical outfit.
I like to stand in my kitchen with the script on a counter that’s about chest high. Usually I do something else at the same time – make a chicken or slice vegetables – and all day long I just read it over and over and over.
When you’re onstage and you know you’re bombing, that’s very, very scary. Because you know you gotta keep going – you’re bombing, but you can’t stop. And you know that half an hour from now, you’re still gonna be bombing. It takes a thick skin.
It’s true in most movies I don’t use my own voice.
I don’t usually get to play fathers or grandfathers or uncles. Now that I’m older, maybe I can play people closer to myself. I’d like that.
I’ve made movies that we’re very successful that we’re a complete surprise, and I’ve made movies that I thought we’re going to be very successful that, you know.
I live sort of in the country and I like that. It’s very quiet, it’s beautiful.
I have a friend of mine who does me on his answering machine, and when I call him, I answer. It’s pretty strange.
In England, and all over Europe, and all over the world, actors act until they die. They get old, really old, and they’re still working. They just keep doing it.
I think the fact that I grew up in show business had a real effect on my personality. If you were born in New York during the golden age of television, and you grew up on Broadway, that marks you.
I make movies that nobody will see. I’ve made movies that even I have never seen.
I’ve been married for 46 years, and I live in a nice house, my grass is always cut, I pay my bills, and my cat loves me!
I’ve made three musical movies which is pretty good considering that not many are made but I was lucky in other ways. I came along when independent movies were starting to boom.
I don’t need to be made to look evil. I can do that on my own.
I try not to worry about things I can’t do anything about.
Morning is the best time to see movies.
I’ve always played comedy. My background is musical comedy theatre, and that’s really where my training is.
I don’t have a lot of hobbies. I don’t play golf. I don’t have any children. Things that occupy people’s time. I just try to take jobs.
Obviously an actor draws on his own experience.
I play a lot of, maybe a little bit, cartoonish people. I’ve been a Bond villain, and I play a lot of villains, people who want to take over something.
You do something on television, and so many people see it that it follows you around. It’s interesting. I’ve done a couple of things on TV, and probably more people saw me than in all the movies I’ve made.
Also for me it was different because I play a lot of villains and in this one I play a dad and I play a good guy, basically. He’s the Secretary of the Treasury. I never had a job like that.
I grew up in the ’50s, in New York City, where television was born. There were 90 live shows every week, and they used a lot of kids. There were schools just for these kids. There was a whole world that doesn’t exist anymore.
When videotape came so a lot of movies that I do have a kind of afterlife in video. Things where movies that I do would come and go; they still come and go but you can go rent them and see them on TV.
And I think that when I play these villains, maybe what is different is that the audience sees me play these and they know that that’s Chris and he’s having fun and he knows that and he knows that and you know that and everybody knows that.
Both my parents had heavy accents, and so did everybody they knew. It’s a rhythm thing – people who speak English where they have to hesitate and think of the right word. And I think it rubbed off.
You know, there’s nothing you can do about your public image. It is what it is. I just try to do things honestly. I guess honesty is what you would call subjective: if you feel good about what you’re doing, yourself, if you figure you’re doing the right thing.
The minute I start to talk about acting, I realize that I can’t. You know, it’s an abstract thing, a little bit mysterious even if you do it for a living.
My own way of thinking is very conservative, very linear and not particularly imaginative, but if I look for things in different places, sometimes things happen.
I became an actor by accident. I suppose I figured since I was in musical comedy from the time I was a teenager, I suppose I figured that I’d always been in that world to some extent.
There are people who are able to plan their career, their future, but I’ve never had any talent for that. I just do things and hope for the best. Say yes, take a chance, and sometimes it’s terrific and sometimes it’s not.
One thing that’s happened to me is I’ve been around a long time and I’ve played a lot of villains and so forth. I think it had to do with, well one thing is that I looked younger than I was for a long time. Now I think I’m suddenly starting to play people’s father.
It’s what actors call a big, juicy part, when you’re a leading man. I don’t get a lot of those. I get a lot of supporting things.
I remember that. I was talking to him and I said how great it would be if actors had a tail because I have animals and a tail is so expressive. On a cat you can tell everything. You can tell if they’re annoyed. You can tell whether they’re scared.
My life is really quite conservative. I’ve been married nearly 50 years. I don’t have hobbies or children. I don’t much care to travel. I’ve never had a big social life. I really just stay home, except when I go to work.
Movies are terrifically optimistic enterprises.
I’ve been to Chicago a lot – it’s one of my favorite places. My wife is from Chicago, and I worked in the theater there a lot.
My hair was famous before I was.
I don’t like flying at the best of times. And as I get older, I like it less and less. I don’t much like driving, either. I prefer to be driven. And, when I’m in London, I don’t even like walking on the street. I can never get used to looking the right way when I cross the street.
The best thing for me is, when I’m not working, is to be at home and to have a script or two scripts is better, and to be just walking around the house and just thinking about the lines.
I play disturbed people a lot, but always with a bit of distance or tongue-in-cheek. Most of the villains I play are essentially harmless.
I’m in a place in my life where I get offered parts that I didn’t get offered before – fathers and uncles and grandfathers and so on. And it took me a long time to get to that place, but I’m glad because it opens up new territory.
I have always refused to do something that has offended me. I have been offered potential roles that are totally vulgar.
I certainly have never been an actor who can play the Everyman guy – or, I don’t tend to get those parts. I’ve tended to play eccentrics. I’ve played a lot of villains, of course.
No, improvising is wonderful. But, the thing is that you cannot improvise unless you know exactly what you’re doing.
I don’t know why people eat so badly. I could eat pasta all the time, but it really is fattening. And I love ice cream, but I can’t do that. There was a time, until I was in my mid-forties, when I could eat a whole pizza – and really, no effect.
I’ve made movies that I thought were good. I’ve made movies that I thought were okay, but then I was very good. And sometimes you’re in a movie and you think, I wish more people saw that – because you’re good. And it just works out that the movie gets lost. But that’s show business.
I don’t much like being directed. I enjoy being allowed to play.
I think I’m getting a little bit of Alzheimer’s. Just a little.
When I was a kid, my parents gave me piano lessons and guitar lessons for a while, but I was never very good at it. I have big, sort of awkward hands. It’s hard to keep going when you don’t get any better.
I used to be prettier than I am, but I think I look better now. I was a pretty boy. Particularly in my early movies. I don’t like looking at them so much. There’s a sort of pretty thing about me.
Onstage I have a natural chutzpa that audiences like. I’m out there.
Is typecasting really a problem?
Quite often, I’ll be sent a script for a movie. And I find that I like it, so I say I’ll do it. But then they rewrite it for me. They make it quirky. Odd. I find that rather annoying. I call it Walkenising.
There probably aren’t a lot of actors my age who tap dance.
There’s something dangerous about what’s funny. Jarring and disconcerting. There is a connection between funny and scary.
To be honest, I was never very ambitious. And I still am not.
People think that my favorite roles to do are villains, but I find comedy to be the most challenging and rewarding.
My father passed away a couple of years ago, but he was very old. He was almost a 100 years old. And, you know, he had a very good life. He came to America and he had a good life.
Acting has to do with saying it as if you meant it, so for me the words are always very important. It’s very important for me to know my lines, know them so well that I don’t have to think about them.
I’ll tell you, Quentin Tarantino really writes the most amazing dialogue.
Emotional power is maybe the most valuable thing that an actor can have.
I think that a good movie creates its own world, and that world needn’t refer to anything that’s real. If it’s consistent, if it’s entertaining, if it’s interesting, it justifies its being there.
Improvising is wonderful. But, the thing is that you cannot improvise unless you know exactly what you’re doing. That’s a kind of paradoxical thing about improvising.
You hear about things happening to people – they slip in the bathtub, fall down the stairs, step off the curb in London because they think that the cars come the other way – and they die. You feel you want to die making an effort at something; you don’t want to die in some unnecessary way.
To me, there are things you’re good at and things you’re not so good at. For some reason, I’m good at darker characters. It has to do with how you look.