Christopher Walken Approaches His Career With A Bit Of Marlon Brando Wisdom

Some of the greatest artists and geniuses who walk among us are people who march to the beat of their own drum. Perhaps it's their quirks and unique point of view that enhances their talent in their fields. Figures like Albert Einstein or Edgar Allan Poe were off-beat personalities who contributed some of humanity's most unimpeachable works of science and art.

This phenomenon carries over to some of our greatest actors, with their strange behaviors perhaps accentuated and enabled by the nature of Hollywood studio culture. If you're paying an actor millions of dollars to be in his movie, you're more likely to let them be weird or awful to everyone around them if they're brilliant. One classic example of this persona is Marlon Brando, whose on-set antics vexed producers and his fellow actors alike.

Another legendary actor who shares Brando's proclivity for nonsense is Christopher Walken. Walken is a famously weird cat, with actors having nearly countless stories of strange interactions with him. While Walken's weirdness, stealing wardrobes aside, has generally been far more harmless than Brando's often abusive behavior, there are very clear similarities between the two actors.

According to Walken, he's actually taken some cues from Brando in his career. Like many other performers, Brando was an inspiration for Walken as an actor, but Walken also took to heart some of Brando's more general life advice, according to a recent interview with Vanity Fair.

A roll of the dice

In the Vanity Fair piece, Walken speaks a bit about his surprisingly aimless life philosophy.

"The truth is, I've never made choices. I more or less just do what comes next. I don't have kids. I don't like to play golf or tennis. I don't like to travel. I mostly just go to work. So the choices that I make have more to do with the opportunities that are in front of me. I like to take a chance. All through my career, sometimes things work out well and sometimes they don't. But that's the way it goes."

Hey, if acting is what he likes to do, I'm glad he gets to do it so much. It's a fairly healthy way to view his career, honestly. It's true that, no matter how great you are as an individual performer, not every movie you make is going to be a home run. That's just a reality of the mercurial film industry.

Apparently, this philosophy was something Walken aped from Brando: "Marlon Brando said in some interview that being an actor was a roll of the dice. And I think that's true. You just take a chance, see what happens."

This mantra is surprising to hear from Brando, who famously would get difficult when playing a role he didn't like. Surely saying no more often could only have helped him out. But I suppose that's the cost of having such a prolific career, something Brando and Walken both unquestionably have. Christopher Walken and Marlon Brando are two one-of-a-kind figures in acting history, but this is one part of them that anybody can emulate.