Christopher Walken to play Captain Hook in NBC's live 'Peter Pan'

Captain Hook and Peter Pan became enemies when Peter fed the pirate's hand to a crocodile.
By Annie Martin   |   July 14, 2014 at 11:36 AM  |  Updated July 14, 2014 at 11:37 AM   |   Comments

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LOS ANGELES, July 14 (UPI) -- Christopher Walken has been cast as Captain Hook in NBC's Peter Pan.

The 71-year-old actor will portray the villainous pirate in the network's live production in December. The story will be based on the original Peter Pan play and novel by Scottish author J.M. Barrie. NBC hopes to replicate the success of The Sound of Music Live!; 18.6 million viewers tuned in to watch the television special last year.

"He's one of the most unique actors in our business," network chairman Bob Greenblatt said of Walken. "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."

Greenblatt revealed Kristen Bell was considered for Peter, but the actress was unable to commit due to her schedule for House of Lies. The role is traditionally played by a woman in theater, and the chairman shared he is "close" to finding the right person, and the actor is "going to be female."

The live musical will reunite Walken with producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. The trio previously collaborated on the film adaptation of Hairspray.

"The exhilarating thing about doing these live musicals is giving the stage to a thrilling performer like Chris, and seeing his once-in-a-lifetime performance unfold at the same moment the audience is watching at home," the producers said.

Walken most recently appeared in the Clint Eastwood film Jersey Boys in June. The star said it is "wonderful" to be involved with Peter Pan, and expressed excitement at the "chance to put on [his] tap shoes again." Peter Pan Live! airs December 4 on NBC.

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