This weekend I was working with a client on a self-tape. It was for a supporting role in a new feature from an Oscar winning writer. He did a great job. The sides were excellent (unsurprising) and the role fit him really well. All in all we were both happy with the tape.
We were discussing the audition as we took down the lights and locked up the studio. Specifically from the angle I've been obsessed with lately: who does the role become because you're playing it? This client has a really unique voice that reminds me a bit of Tobey Maguire and Michael Cera - something sweet and a bit wobbly at times. I thought it worked particularly well for this role and was something uniquely him that he brought to the role.
He responded by saying that he liked his work and trusted my feedback, but he also "didn't want to be Christopher Walken."
I just did a quick google search. Christopher Walken won an Oscar, an Emmy, a Bafta, a SAG award, and two Tony awards. The Deer Hunter, Pulp Fiction, 7 time SNL host. To Each to their own, but I'd love to be Christopher Walken.
But also, I get it. We do "Walken" impressions. We know he's brilliant but a "more cowbell" joke is never far away.
Acting can be embarrassing. I keep forgetting that but it always makes sure to remind me. Is Christopher Walken embarrassed? I doubt it.
It leads me to this question: how intentional is all of this for Christopher Walken? Does he know his speech patterns are wildly unique and, dare I say it, super brand-able? I've heard it's organic too, that he likes erasing all of the punctuation from a script so he can find his own syntax.
But most interesting to me in this moment - is it somehow better or worse, more talented or somehow cheaper if it's intentional or totally accidental?
Would you want to be Christopher Walken?