Christopher Walken Painted Over a Banksy Mural for the Sake of Comedy

It was on an episode of "The Outlaws"

Christopher Walken
Christopher Walken poses during a photo session on June 21, 2019 in Paris.
AFP via Getty Images

In their own way, both Banksy and Christopher Walken could be accurately described as icons of their respective artistic disciplines. But what happens when two icons like these collide — and one of them is armed with a can of paint? Think rock-paper-scissors, but (arguably) played for laughs and recorded for posterity.

Walken is one of the stars of The Outlaws, a new BBC series from The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant that focuses on a group of people doing community service work in Bristol. As Daniel Victor reported at The New York Times, during the filming of one scene, life and art collided in an unexpected way. In the scene, Walken’s character Frank and his cohorts are tasked with painting over any graffiti that they find — which includes a real-life Banksy painting of a rat on the side of a building.

Frank asks his supervisor what to do with it. “Council said paint over any graffiti, so crack on,” she tells him. To which he responds, “It’s awfully good.” Still, in the end Walken ends up painting over Banksy’s work — which makes the odds of this one returning in NFT form pretty low.

We appear to be living through a golden age of Banksy references on television. The second season of Ted Lasso also featured a memorable gag about Banksy and his anonymity. If these things come in threes, we can only imagine what could come next. Prehistoric Banksy in La Brea? Banksy amidst the big cats on Tiger King? Stunt-casting of Young Banksy on The Crown? The mind boggles.

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