Published On: Sat, Dec 27th, 2014

Actor Christoph Waltz Takes Nimble Turn as Sociopathic Huckster in ‘Big Eyes’

Actor Christoph Waltz Takes Nimble Turn as Sociopathic Huckster in ‘Big Eyes’


Academy award-winning actor Christoph Waltz, who says there’s darkness in everybody, taps into his own reservoir of darkness to breathe sadistic life into his characters, from Inglourious Basterds’ quadrilingual, calabash-puffing “Jew Hunter” Hans Landa to Dr. King Schultz, the redneck-dispatching bounty hunter of Django Unchained, according to The Daily Beast.

In the six years since he burst onto the scene in Quentin Tarantino’s wish-fulfillment fantasy, a role that magically found the then-obscure thespian after Leonardo DiCaprio passed, the 58-year-old has won a pair of Academy Awards and gained international acclaim for his silver screen rapscallions, the news website said.

Tim Burton’s Big Eyes sees Waltz portray Walter Keane, a sociopathic bully in 1950s San Francisco who manipulates his wife, painter Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), into letting him take credit for her popular creations—canvases boasting ethereal, big-eyed children. Walter is a huckster of the first order; a talentless buffoon who convinces the impressionable Margaret to bear the burden of his crippling inadequacy, the Daily Beast said.

When Waltz and Burton met, they spoke about “kitschness in art and the constellations, ” as well as Walter’s psychosis. Following the tête-à-tête, Waltz says he got a good read for the real-life oddball—a plagiarist who caused such a scene at their eventual authorship trial that the judge threatened to have him shackled and gagged, the website said.

“It’s up to the director to scale, modulate, and encourage you, or temper you, ” said a chuckling Waltz. “Because this guy was untamable.”

For years, Waltz toiled away on European television and working for various theater companies—times which, he says, got quite hellish. Not on the level of Walter Keane, but damn close, the Daily Beast said.

But that all changed when Waltz met Tarantino. The actor and filmmaker are inexorably linked, since the Austrian remains the only actor to win an Academy Award for a role in a Tarantino joint—make that two, for Basterds and Django, the website said.

“It’s music that speaks to me, ” Waltz says of Tarantino’s dialogue. “You don’t like every piece of music that you hear, but sometimes there’s a song where you might not even understand why you like it so much, but you do. In that respect, I know exactly why I like it so much. I can tune into the wavelengths, and the flow of it, ” the Daily Beast said.

Despite his pair of Oscars and nimble turn as Keane, which earned him a Golden Globe nod for Best Actor, the most anticipated role of Waltz’s career is his next—as a Bond villain in Sam Mendes’ 24th installment in the spy franchise, Spectre, due out late next year, according to the website.


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