Christopher Walken Ruins an Original Banksy

On purpose: Actor painted over a rat in scene from BBC's 'The Outlaws'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2021 4:10 PM CST

In the series finale of BBC comedy-drama The Outlaws, a character played by Christopher Walken paints over an image of a rat below the name Banksy. And here is where fiction meets reality: Not only was the mural an original Banksy artwork, but Walken really did destroy it on the film set in Bristol, which is believed to be the artist's hometown, reports CNN. A spokesperson for the show, which is written by and starring The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant, confirmed the stunt. And the BBC reports that the secretive Banksy actually painted the rat expressly for the show. The final scene shows Walken's character, Frank, painting over a graffitied wall as part of his community service. He then finds the image of a rat holding two cans of spray paint, and the word "BANKSY."

He tries to get the attention of his probation officer, who has her head buried in a book, but she tells him that he's been directed to "paint over any graffiti, so crack on," without looking up. Frank goes on painting. A show rep later confirmed the artwork "was an original Banksy, and that Christopher Walken painted over that artwork during the filming of this scene, ultimately destroying it." Had showrunners preserved it, they might've stood to gain hundreds of thousands of dollars. Per the BBC, a Banksy mural featuring a girl hula-hooping with a bicycle tire, which appeared on a building in Nottingham last October, was removed and sold to a collector for a "six-figure sum" in February. (Read more Banksy stories.)

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