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NBC knew it needed a name to launch its upcoming live musical adaptation of Peter Pan. It just didn’t know which name, at least until now. The network is poised to announce longtime badass and musical veteran Christopher Walken has joined the cast to play Captain Hook.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the announcement will officially be made later today by NBC Chariman Bob Greenblatt. He was reportedly hoping to announce Kristen Bell was playing Peter Pan, as well, but sadly, the details couldn’t be worked out with House Of Lies thanks to the four months of rehearsal time the production will need to get off the ground and launch on December 4.
Staging The Sound Of Music live was considered a pretty big risk when NBC first announced it back a few years ago, but the gamble wound up paying off huge. The show attracted more than 18 million viewers. That, of course, led to an immediate greenlight to put on another production. The only question was which one. After an army’s worth of rumors, the Peacock Network finally settled on Peter Pan, which has a long history of almost staggering television success.
NBC actually staged a live broadcast of the Mary Martin and Cyril Richard Peter Pan Broadway play all the way back in 1955. It attracted 65 million viewers. That is not a typo. I repeat. It attracted 65 million viewers. No one is expecting Christopher Walken and company to be able to put up a figure approaching that, but given the popularity of the source material and the success of Carrie Underwood’s Sound Of Music, I bet the network is cautiously optimistic they can put up 20 million.
Even with Christopher Walken in place, there are still a ton of details to work out. The production has reportedly decided 100% that they’re casting a female Peter Pan, which is not the direction they were originally going in, but exactly which woman that will be is still up in the air. Expect a pretty big name, though. As for the Captain Hook role, it’s a tradition that the same actor to play Hook typically plays Peter Pan’s father, as well, but it’s unclear if that will happen or even if George Darling will appear. With a static runtime and a fixed set budget, NBC is going to need to trim some fat somewhere. It will also need to decide how closely it wants to stick to J.M. Barrie's original source material.
We’ll keep you updated as more details become available. Until then. Walken! Peter Pan! Get excited for that combination.