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Stephen Merchant faxed ‘Outlaws’ script to Christopher Walken, noted Luddite

Christopher Walken likes to keep it old school.

In fact, Stephen Merchant was left with no other option but to fax the script for “The Outlaws” to his co-star, a self-described Luddite.

“He’s always wanted to work with me,” the English comedian jokes in an exclusive interview with Page Six of persuading Walken to join his comedy series.

“No, he had no idea who I was, I’m sure,” Merchant concedes. “But somehow we managed to get the script to him. Chris doesn’t have a cellphone or a computer, so I think maybe we faxed it to him, and I went up to see him in Connecticut.”

(Walken’s agents confirmed the 79-year-old does not have a cellphone or computer, something he has also discussed himself.)

Merchant, 47, says that the first thing the “Deer Hunter” actor asked him when they met was whether he wanted to share an omelet he had just rustled up for himself.

“I had just eaten a huge hotel breakfast, so I was like, ‘I’m good for an omelet. Thanks, Chris,’” he recalls.

Stephen Merchant and Christopher Walken in "The Outlaws."
Merchant and Walken star in “The Outlaws.”

“But we sat there, and he had a lot of questions, and he’s very thoughtful and he’s very considerate and he’s a very smart man, and he really wants to understand the character and the tone of the show.

“And by hour three, I’m like, ‘Is there any of that omelet left?’ I mean, I was weak from hunger,” he adds with a laugh.

Merchant not only stars in the Amazon Prime Video show, but he also co-created and co-wrote it. The thriller centers around a group of strangers forced together to complete a community payback sentence in Bristol, England.

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant sitting together at a panel.
Merchant and Ricky Gervais created “The Office.”
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The “Jojo Rabbit” actor also co-created another show you may have heard of: the British version of “The Office” with Ricky Gervais. (The pair met in 1997 when Gervais, working at a London radio station, hired Merchant as his assistant.)

Merchant likens the sitcom’s global success to a fairy-tale.

“It’s our ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ in that we thought we ended up with just a couple of beans that no one was going to be interested in,” he shares. “But no, low and behold, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. I don’t know what that is. I can’t really analyze it.

“I think it’s just a good example of write what you know, write something that you’d like to see on TV, and then maybe it will strike a chord. In the case of ‘The Office,’ it has. It’s like winning the lottery, you know? It’s sort of impossible to replicate, but I’m very glad it happened.”

Stephen Merchant in "Jojo Rabbit."
Merchant appeared in the Oscar-winning film “Jojo Rabbit.”

As for whether he thinks Gervais, 60, should host the Oscars, Merchant is all for it.

“I mean, the good thing is that Ricky did a celebrity boxing match many years ago. He did some boxing training. So he has a couple of moves,” he quips. “So, you know, he could defend himself against any attackers.

“I mean, I’d love to see Ricky at the Oscars. But I don’t know whether they would have him. I don’t know whether they’ll just play it super safe from now on.”

About the author

Tina Sanders

Tina is the mind behind Gruntstuff.com, and she ideated it when she was working for an online magazine company where she used to cover US-based headlines news. She holds a degree in journalism and has more than 4.5 years of experience in an online magazine company. She had the idea while working there but when she was quite sure about starting something on her own, she took the risk and left the job to start Gruntstuff. Since then she added a few team members, and along with them, she creates General US news content on the site.

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