When Christopher Walken was announced as the actor who would be playing Captain Hook in NBC’s Peter Pan Live — the channel’s follow-up to last year’s ratings smash The Sound of Music Live — most people probably had the same reaction: an initial shock, followed by a smile of satisfaction. Anybody who has ever heard Walken sing wouldn’t mistake him for a vocalist, but anybody who has seen more than one Walken movie probably knows that the man enjoys to cut a rug and have fun. While speaking to The New York Post about the broadcast event, Walken spoke about the pressure of doing a musical live on television.
The executive producers of Peter Pan Live, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, previously worked with Walken on the film version of the musical Hairspray, so they knew he’d be game. Walken reveals that he only agreed to do Peter Pan Live if he could do a lot of dancing in order to compensate for his lack of skill as a singer. He recalls, “When they asked me to do it, I said, ‘I’m not much of a singer. But I can dance a little bit. My singing is not much.'”
Walken admits that juggling the various parts of his role in a live television broadcast isn’t easy. He points out, “There’s a lot to do, acting and dancing and swords. Getting used to your shoes and your hat. It’s kind of dizzying. It’s a big deal.”
Though Walken enjoys acting, he confesses that parts of the live broadcast have him a little nervous based on his extensive past experience doing live theater. He says, “It’s live in the way a football game is live. I just try to come to work every day and not think about that. But I’ve been in the theater a lot. You’ve been rehearsing, but you know that [first preview] is coming and you know there are going to be people there. You know, it’s never fun.“