A Dancing Hook
Christopher Walken has been announced as 'Hook' in an upcoming NBC stage and television production of Peter Pan. Due to the recent success of a similar format with the The Sound of Music, Pan will be NBC's followup attempt to compete in the DVR (Digital Video Recorder) market.
Speaking on the Walken addition to the cast, NBC's entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said:
He's one of the most unique actors in our business... he might really just be a song and dance man at heart. ... This might be the first tap dancing Captain Hook you've ever seen.
This could just be true. Although Peter Pan is one of the most adapted stories ever, I don't think I've ever seen a tap-dancing interpretation of Hook. Walken, always known for his dancing skills, seems to slip it in here in there in all his roles.
Check out his most iconic dancing role in Fatboy Slim's Weapon of Choice:
The Female Pan
The project was also trying to enlist Kristen Bell into its ranks as Peter. However, due to her busy schedule with Showtimes [House of Lies](series:722538), she had to turn it down.
Despite this setback, however, the producers and directors are still seeking out a girl to play the Peter character:
We were talking about doing it with a man at one point, but we've had several women who wanted to do it and they're either busy or their schedules don't work... It's tricky finding the right person in the schedule that we need it but we're actually close. [Peter is] going to be female.
That they want to have Peter played by a girl is perhaps because the very first live incarnation of Peter was played by stage icon Nina Boucicault back in 1904 at the Duke of York Theatre in London.
The Production and a Bit of Neverland History
Dustin Hoffman - who played Hook in the Spielberg movie - will be joining Walken in the production. His role is yet unclear.
The Peter Pan story originates from the 1904 J.M. Barrie play and the 1911 novel of the same name; sometimes called 'The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up' or 'Peter and Wendy'. It centers on the character of Peter, a boy who could never grow up from the mystical place of Neverland. He's leader of a group of Lost Boys. He takes a group of children (The Darlings) to Neverland so they can stay up late, be children and have adventures.
Captain James Hook
Peter's main adversary through all the short stories and recreations would have to be the infamous Captain Hook. Hook hates Peter, not because he took his hand, but because he is 'cocky' and being an educated man he resents anyone who does not respect or adhere to 'good form'. Interestingly, in many stage productions Hook was always played by the same actor that played Mr Darling; the father of the Darling children. In this we can see the main allegorical element of the Peter Pan story, which is that the children want to stay up all night and have fun while the parents make them go to bed. When the story goes to Neverland, Hook is essentially the controlling parent. A similar metaphor was used recently in [The LEGO Movie](movie:376368).
Hook is eternally followed by a crocodile with a ticking clock in its belly. Another metaphor that death is only a matter of time and how, in support of our leading characters, children are correct in making the most of their lives and ignoring 'good form' or form at all.
Walken as Hook
Hook's oldest description has him described as articulate, which Walken certainly is. He is a fantastic swordsman which will require a well-rehearsed dance routine with weapons, which Walken is no stranger to. Hook is supposed to be from a very well-to-do background and attended Eton college before he took up his career as a pirate. I think one character we can look at in Walken's canon has to be Batman Returns Max Schreck.
Schreck is a good tentpole for which to gauge how Walken will interpret Hook. They both have charisma, both rich boy-turned-criminals, massive egos, both greedy and willing to stop anyone who gets in their way...
Check him out in action to get an idea of one seriously menacing Captain Hook:
Obviously this'll need to be lightened up a bit for children but you get the idea.
What do you think of Walken as Hook?
Walken as Hook