Saturday, September 27, 2008

More Cowbell: The Book?

Some people might know Christopher Walken for his crazy hair, his bulging eyes, or his memorable turn on SNL as a producer imploring Will Ferrell for more cowbell. Who knew that a parody of VH1's "Behind The Music" for Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear The Reaper" would become an unstoppable phenomenon. (By the way, waht ever happened to Behind the Music"? Did they just run out of bands? I know they were stretching it at the end when they did Kid Rock, and it did seem that every band had the same story but I could watch "Behind the Music" for hours.)

In a new book, Christopher Walken A to Z, author Robert Shnakenberg catalogs the iconic performer's 40 year career, full of eccentricities, dancing, stage performances, weird cameos from his early days as a janitor at the Actors Studio to his Oscar nominated performance in Deer Hunter to his eye-opening dance routine in Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice".

I was drawn to the book at Barnes & Noble by it's excellent end cap placement right next to the escalator, not to mention that the cover is fucking golden! It's twice golden since it has a picture of Walken in a eye attracting hue of gold. Look at that hair!

Mr. Shnakenberg must be an expert at cataloging the greatness of intriguing, persevering personalities, as this book is his follow up to the brilliantly titled Encyclopedia Shatnerica. The book does a rotating between interesting tidbits as well as rating Walken's filmography as it comes up in the list and giving a brief overview of his involvement in the project and the quality of the movie.

He also makes sure to have an interesting tale regarding the movie or point out a connection with another project like how he his role in a film by Woody Allen was recast being too handsome or that Walken refuses to audition, usually just letting the director look at him and see if he fits the role. (Walken's breakthrough role was in another Woody Allen movie, Annie Hall.)

Although I only read the first section of the book, A to B," I discovered plenty of interesting tidbits.

- Did you know Christopher's real first name is Ronald? This was definitely the right career move to make. He couldn't have been one tenth as cool with a name like Ronald. Ronald can be the lamest first name available.

- Walken likes to suck lemons before he shoots a scene according to Brendan Fraser, his costar in the underrated Blast From The Past. It is the movie is underrated, Brendan Fraser is still lame.

- Christopher Walken is a cat person. The author connects it to many people describing Walken as having "cat like qualities" about him. I definitely see the resemblance. He kind of looks like a cat. In an interview with a New Zealand newspaper he said that acting would be easier if he had a tail. He said "A tail is so expressive. On a cat you can tell if they're annoyed. You can tell whether they are scared. They bush their tail."

- According to a costar in the underwhelming Balls of Fury, Walken has a distinct body odor.

- Lastly but surely not least, here is Walken on why he likes to wear black:

"Hundreds of million of Asisans wear black. They know what they're doing."

What an amazing quote. If anyone else said that, they'd probably be banned from Hollywood but it's like "Manny being Manny". It's just Walken being Walken. These nuggets are just from the first two letters of the alphabet. I truly can't wait to get through the rest of Christopher Walken A to Z.

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