1 December 2012 4:04 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

He has spent his life creating memorable and menacing characters. The actor tells Sean O'Hagan why he hates horses, loves Hollywood's honesty and won't leave his hotel in London

It was Mickey Rourke who came closest to capturing Christopher Walken's singular aura. "You were always like this strange being from another place," Rourke told Walken when the two came together recently for a feature in Interview magazine. "There was something 'outer space' about you."

Though Walken, now 69, has mellowed somewhat since he first crossed paths with Rourke on Michael Cimino's ill-fated epic, Heaven's Gate, in 1980, that description still seems apt. It's to do with his sense of detachment: the odd mix of preternatural calm and underlying menace that he exudes onscreen. Like the late Dennis Hopper, but in a more understated way, Walken has spent the best part of his career playing extreme characters of one kind or another, »

- Sean O'Hagan

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