FilmMarch 24, 2011 at 4:00 am

Christopher Walken’s Most Family–Friendly Roles

Christopher Walken has always possessed an intensity that has lent itself well to heavy films like At Close Range and King of New York. His newest film, Kill The Irishman, is no exception, casting the veteran actor as a hardened mob boss. Yet a perusal of Walken’s impressive resume also reveals a surprising trend in the actor’s oeuvre: his penchant for family–friendly children’s fare. He may have been terrifying in Sleepy Hollow, but the kids sure do seem to love Walken. In case you’re lookin for lighter fare this weekend, Street takes you through Walken’s most precious roles.

Puss in Boots (1988)
Christopher made his debut in kid flicks after proving himself as an actor in a few real downers (see: The Deer Hunter). Walken stars as the titular cat, who possesses a pair of magical boots that make him appear human whenever he puts them on. At least he stars as the human incarnation of Puss in Boots — we’re pretty sure the cat version was played by a cat.



Mousehunt (1997)
Maybe getting recognized on the street by children didn’t amuse Walken, because his next foray into family–fare was almost a decade later and much less cuddly. Walken’s persona is put to good use in this surprisingly dark children’s comedy, wherein he is cast as a sadistic exterminator who meets his match in the havoc–wreaking mouse of the title.

The Country Bears (2002)
Despite having to act opposite people in bear costumes, it was Walken who managed to be nominated for a Razzie in this universally–panned flop. But since his role was that of a greedy banker who conspires against an all–bear musical band, Walken should have seen this one coming.


Kangaroo Jack (2003)
Once again channeling his villainous presence, Walken stars as a mob boss who tries to trick his stepson into paying for his own execution by charging him to deliver a mysterious box with money inside. This might sound like a serious subject for a children’s film, but rest assured; the film’s plot is driven by the pursuit of a kangaroo across the Australian Outback who wears a red sweatshirt and sunglasses.

Hairspray (2007)
Finally acting alongside an all–human cast, Walken shines as the father of Tracy Turnblad, an overweight dancer with dreams of stardom in this musical remake of John Waters’ 1988 cult classic. Armed with a pair of dancing shoes and a fit partner in John Travolta (in drag, playing Tracy’s mother), Walken shows off his storied dancing skills to an audience of all ages.

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