NBC has not yet revealed who will play the title character in its upcoming live staging of “Peter Pan Live,” but it did announce the first major casting decision Sunday.
That decision is that Christopher Walken, whom NBC calls “one of the most revered talents of his generation and a veteran of film, television and stage,” will play Captain Hook in the December 4 telecast.
“We are absolutely delighted that Christopher Walken will be putting his unique stamp on Captain Hook for our holiday musical event ‘Peter Pan Live!,’” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “He’s not only one of the most versatile actors in our business, but his love of musicals and uncanny abilities as a dancer make him perfect for stepping into this classic James M. Barrie character. Get ready to be charmed, amused, frightened and dazzled by Captain Hook in an entirely original way.”
Speaking at the TCA press tour, Greenblatt added that the network and producers are looking for a female to play the titular role. Kristen Bell was on the top of the shortlist, but the nature of the commitment, which requires the actress to be available from August to December, rendered the gig unworkable for the charismatic entertainer.
Regarding his casting, Walken added, “I started my career in musicals and it’s wonderful after all this time, at this point in my career, to be in this classic musical I watched as a child and to work with Neil Meron and Craig Zadan again after ‘Hairspray.’ It’s a chance to put on my tap shoes again.”
“Peter Pan Live” follows in the footsteps of NBC’s “The Sound of Music Live,” which drew monster ratings for the network last December. In the wake of that successful broadcast, FOX also confirmed it was planning a live, televised staging of beloved musical “Grease.”