Trained dancer and last to see Natalie Wood alive – 10 Christopher Walken facts

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Get ready to head to the wild west of…er Bristol on Monday night- as Stephen Merchant’s new show The Outlaws kicks off.

Following seven people who meet through community service at the same run-down building in the city, it has one very unlikely star – Hollywood Oscar-winner Christopher Walken.

Merchant lured Walken, 78, to the role by travelling to his home in rural Connecticut, US, and telling him Bristol was the UK version of San Francisco.

But how much do you know about Pulp Fiction star Walken? Daily Star's Nadine Linge has 10 top facts.,,,,

1. As well as Pulp Fiction, Walken is famed as Bond baddie Max Zorin in A View to a Kill as well as Hairspray, Wedding Crashers and Catch Me If You Can. A trained dancer, before finding fame he worked in a cabaret nightclub.

2. He also once worked as a lion tamer in a circus with a female cat named Sheba. He said: "She was very sweet. Like a dog, really. I would wave the whip, and she would run and sit up and roll over and do things."

3. Walken’s real name is Ronald but he changed it at the suggestion of a nightclub owner in 1964 who felt Christopher suited him better. Any earlier projects see him credited as Ronald or Ronnie Walken.

4. The actor was one of the last people to see actress Natalie Wood alive – she drowned in 1941 aged 43. Wood and Walken were together on her husband Robert Wagner’s yacht as they were on a break from a film they were doing together.

5. His exuberant dancing in Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice music video has caused it to be named one of the best of all time, but Walken also appeared alongside singer Madonna. He was the Angel of Death in her Bad Girl music vid.

6. Walken says his distinctive way of speaking comes from his childhood growing up in Queens, New York, with immigrants who spoke English as a second language. This included his German father Paul, a baker.

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7. A veteran of more than 100 films, he was considered for the role of Han Solo in Star Wars, which eventually went to Harrison Ford. A then-struggling actor, he auditioned for the role but didn’t get it but some sources claim Walken was George Lucas’ second choice.

8. Walken also played a hologram host in the Disaster! ride at Universal Studios in Florida. But it closed in 2015 to make way for a new Fast & Furious attraction.

9. After the website walken2008.com popped up online, people assumed he was planning to run for President. It was just mocked up by a fan but Walken said: "Sure, if they want me to be president, I’ll do it." He even had a campaign slogan: "No more zoos!"

10. Merchant was thrilled with Walken’s typically intense performance as ageing rogue Frank in The Outlaws. He said: "If he is giving it full Walken then I think that is just him. He is so watchable. There is a reason certain people become movie stars: they have a charisma that’s impossible to ignore."

The Outlaws airs Monday night at 9pm on BBC One.

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