Once the go-to guy for creeps and criminals, Christopher Walken is branching out. ''I'm getting to play more fathers and uncles,'' he says. Indeed, in Around the Bend, a multigenerational road-trip flick that casts him opposite Michael Caine, Walken plays his first grandfather. And who knew he was almost on The Sopranos?
You're in four movies this year [next up: 2005's Romance and Cigarettes]. Don't you rest?
I like to work. I don't have hobbies, I don't particularly like to travel. When you make movies, you travel anyway. Going to work is my favorite thing. So I try to do it as often as I can, but, when you're an actor, sometimes there's just nothing coming up. I try to make hay while the sun shines.
How do you react when people say you're the best thing in a lot of bad movies?
[Laughs]I haven't heard that too much. But it's always good when people say you're good. Maybe some people can figure things out, but I'm not good at that. I just forge ahead and hope for the best.
You just got to put your hands and feet in cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Was that a big deal?
Absolutely. I grew up after the Second World War. I've got that stuff imprinted in my brain—the old days, the flashbulbs going off, the people putting their hands in the cement. My family was always fascinated by the movies, so the whole thing's not only an honor, it's a nostalgic thrill.
Your wife, Georgianne, casts The Sopranos. Have you ever talked about being on the show?
It's come up. I was once up to play Lorraine Bracco's psychiatrist, but Peter Bogdanovich got it. I think I was doing something else. But maybe they just took him instead of me, I dunno.