The Outlaws viewers distracted by Christopher Walken appearance ‘What’s he doing?’

The Outlaws: Stephen Merchant appears in trailer

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BBC comedy The Outlaws, starring Stephen Merchant, Nina Wadia and Eleanor Tomlinson, launched on screens on Monday night and saw a group of strangers brought together to partake in community service. Among those is Frank, an American petty criminal played by Christopher Walken. The 78-year-old’s character was the only “criminal” who wasn’t from Bristol, and viewers were confused by the casting of Walken, who has appeared in more than 100 films and television shows. The “legendary” actor’s role left people distracted as they tuned in for the first instalment of the series.

Viewers watching quickly took to social media to remark on the bizarre casting, with Mark Smith on Twitter commenting: “#TheOutlaws Watching Christopher Walken in a British TV drama set in a community payback scheme in Bristol is a complete mindf***, but it’s a mindf*** I’m enjoying.”

@RobSnook2 asked: “What IS Christopher Walken doing in this tripe? #theoutlaws.”

Martin Shore echoed these views by stating: “#TheOutlaws every time he’s on screen I can’t believe Christopher Walken is in a BBC comedy. Loving this so far.”

“No idea what accent Christopher Walken is coming out with here, but I absolutely f***ing love it. #theoutlaws,” Mick penned.

RichC shared: “Surreal tv moment but what a cool treat seeing the legendary Christopher Walken on British tv #Theoutlaws #christopherwalken #bbc.”

John Ottaway stated: “Christopher Walken. Christopher f***ing Walken #TheOutlaws.” (sic)

The actor recently discussed his character Frank, explaining he is a “good-natured” person who’s made a lot of mistakes, but admitted the character doesn’t seem to fit in.

“He’s an American who’s lived in England for 40 years or so,” Walken commented.

Speaking to BBC, he continued: “He married an English woman and has children and a life in England, but I’d say he’s barely assimilated.

“He’s a kind of a ne’er-do-well, I guess, a good man who’s good-hearted and good-natured but he’s made a lot of mistakes.

“Probably has poor judgement. Often in trouble with the law, you know?

“Anyway, he means well and in this story, he’s part of this group of outlaws, people doing what we in America call ‘work release’.

“I think it’s a very good idea: instead of locking everybody up for nonviolent offences, you do something that could rehabilitate them and put them to some sort of good service, instead of sitting around all day behind bars.”

On his casting to the role, he told the broadcaster: “I’m an actor, it was a good job and I’m a fan of Stephen Merchant.

“We met at my house and I was very taken with him. It’s very good writing: you can tell that, if you’ve been doing it for as long as I have.

“I stand in my kitchen, I read the lines out loud and these were very good words.

“And, you know, it was great to come to England.

“I’ve been in England many times in my career, not to Bristol, but I’ve always enjoyed myself here. So it was just a good job.”

The Outlaws continues Sunday on BBC One and is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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