Who's the swiniest swine in the world? Oscar winner and Tony nominee Christopher Walken will headline NBC's previously announced Peter Pan Live!. Walken will take on the role of the self-proclaimed "greatest villain of all time," Captain Hook. The Peacock Network's follow-up to the highly rated Sound of Music Live!, which starred Carrie Underwood along with many Broadway favorites, Pan will broadcast on December 4. Additional casting will be revealed at a later date.
An Oscar winner for The Deer Hunter, Walken is no stranger to bringing Broadway musicals to the screen, having starred in this summer's Clint Eastwood-helmed Jersey Boys and the film adaptation of Hairspray (produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who will reunite with Walken for Peter Pan). Walken's many films include Stand Up Guys, A Late Quartet and Seven Psychopaths. The actor began his career in the 1950s as a Broadway dancer. He received Tony nods for his performances in The Dead and A Behanding in Spokane.
"I started my career in musicals," Walken said in a statement, "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."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt confirmed at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour that the titular role will be played by a woman, as it is traditionally performed. The network honcho revealed that Frozen star Kristen Bell was at one point considered for Peter, saying, "she was interested but she's doing House of Lies. It's tricky finding the right person in the schedule that we need but we're actually close."
A Great White Way family classic, Peter Pan premiered on October 20, 1954 at the Winter Garden Theatre, featuring a book by J.M. Barrie, music by Mark “Moose” Charlap and Jule Style, lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, direction and choreography by Jerome Robbins and Mary Martin in the lead role of the boy who won’t grow up. NBC has broadcast the musical live a total of three times previously: in 1955 (when it reached 65 million viewers), 1956 and 1960. The musical has been revived five times on Broadway since.