“Basically I prepare for a role in the same way every time,” Chris Walken tells The Guardian‘s Sean O’Hagan in a 12.1 interview. “I take the script, I stand in my kitchen and I quietly mumble it to myself. Over and over. I keep doing that until I hear something in there. I was trained as a dancer and that stuck with me, so I’m essentially looking for a rhythm. For me, acting is all to do with rhythm. When I figure stuff out, it has to do with finding the rhythm. Always.”
“Walken grew up in Astoria, Queens, the kind of second-generation, melting-pot neighbourhood that has long since vanished in New York,” O’Hagan writes. “He once told an interviewer he ‘grew up listening to people speaking broken English…and I probably speak English almost as a second language.’ This may be the real key to his strange, almost stilted, delivery, alongside the fact that he made an early decision as an actor to wilfully disregard punctuation when reading his lines, a quirk that he guessed rightly would set him apart.”
O’Hagan misspells “willfully” in that last sentence, using only one “l” instead of the two preferred by Merrian-Webster.