Christopher Walken has had a career of nearly mythic proportions. The iconic actor, who has been working steadily since he was ten-years-old, has given grace, gravitas and idiosyncratic magnetism to such stalwart classics as The Deer Hunter (for which he earned an Academy Award), Pennies From Heaven, Catch Me If You Can (for which he earned a second Oscar nomination) and Pulp Fiction. That his career extends even further to such, say non-classics, as The Country Bears and Kangaroo Jack seemingly has only added to his oddball allure. With such a stature, it would be most unsettling to see Walken portray a “normal” character, so it makes a certain degree of casting logic that he has joined the cast of The Family Fang to play a patriarch to a performance artist family in Jason Bateman’s upcoming comedy.
The Family Fang marks Bateman’s second feature as a director, following the spring spelling bee comedy Bad Words, which coasted on positive notices from last falls’ Toronto Film Festival to become a modest success for Focus Features. Bateman, who cut his teeth on television as a child actor, picked up the director’s trade early on – he started directing one-off episodes of the sitcoms Valerie and Family Matters in the early 1990s and directed an episode of his acclaimed comeback series Arrested Development before moving to feature films. His second outing appears a bit more ambitious as he stars with Academy Award winning actress Nicole Kidman as siblings who return home after discovering their performing parents have disappeared. Walken will portray Caleb Fang, the pair’s father. The Family Fang is based on the novel by Kevin Wilson, with an adaptation by David Lindsay-Abaire, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his play Rabbit Hole; he also adapted his play to screen in a film that earned Kidman an Oscar nomination. Filming of the family drama is expected to start in July with a 2015 release date likely.
Walken will next be seen on screen in Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys, an adaptation of the Broadway hit musical. Bateman has three comedies in the can – The Longest Week opposite Olivia Wilde (Her) and Jenny Slate (Obvious Child), This Is Where I Leave You with Tina Fey and Adam Driver (Inside Llewyn Davis) and the sequel to his 2011 hit Horrible Bosses 2, which reunites him with fellow disgruntled employees Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day. Kidman is currently on screen in the WWII drama The Railway Man opposite Colin Firth and is set to be on the red carpet of the Croisette as her long-delayed Grace of Monaco opens the 60th Cannes Film Festival on May 14th.