Christopher Walken has done many roles in his illustrious acting career, but now he’s taking on a new role unlike anything we’ve ever seen before: a barista.
For her short film Cristopher Walken’s Coffee Shop, animator Leah Dubuc imagines the award-winning actor opening a trendy cafe and starts working there as the resident barista. Hilarity ensues as customers from all walks of life (or afterlife, even) question Walken’s sudden career-shift, as well as his dubious menu items.
Although the film is short on plot, it captures the audience’s attention from start to end with its brand of improv comedy. Think SNL’s sketches, complete with hipsters and a spot-on Christopher Walken impersonation.
Another thing that we liked about the film is the animation. Using digital and analog techniques on line art, Dubuc was able to create an aesthetic that perfectly complements the improvisational dialogue.
Oh, and let’s not forget the best part: it’s FAIR TRADE!
We recently caught up with Leah Dubuc to know more about the making of Cristopher Walken’s Coffee Shop.
Ok, first of all, where’d you get the idea for a coffee shop run by Christopher Walken?
“So the idea for Christopher Walken’s Coffee Shop came out of an afternoon of improvisation among my friends and I. It was around Halloween time when we recorded it, so all of the bits we were doing were spooky in nature. We started doing the bit, and after Alan Snider said there was a finger in his frappuccino, we just went with it.”
Also, why Christopher Walken?
“My friend, Matt Crawford, just happens to do a Christopher Walken impression, and he initiated the improv we were doing with it. At the beginning of each segment we would make up, we pick someone to lead the scene. Matt lead with Christopher Walken and we started making jokes and it just happened to turn into him murdering everyone.”
The short is certainly unlike all the other short films we’ve seen. How would you describe your filmmaking style, as well as your animation style?
“I would definitely describe both my filmmaking and animation style as improvisational. I like to experiment when it comes both to narrative, and when it comes to aesthetics.
“I can’t take credit for the writing with this film, but I was definitely attracted to the idea of animating something that didn’t have a script and was created with a loose idea that was escalated as a group.
“I tend to use non-traditional materials as an animator, and like the idea of elevating comedy with interesting and pretty aesthetics.
“I used marbled paper as the backgrounds for this project, not only because it’s the closest you can get to improvising as a visual technique, but also because I thought the random patterns would be interesting against the stark black and white I had planned for the illustrations.”
Take us through your creative process. What was going through your mind while you were writing the film?
“Again. Improvised. I wish there was some writing to mention, but we just made it all up on the spot.”
Out of curiosity, what would you personally order from Christopher Walken’s Coffee Shop?
“Honestly I would probably order the cup full of blood, since I personally don’t like drip coffee, but since its winter still I might get the seasonal Peppermint Pinkie Pour-over™, even though it’s not my thing, they use the whole finger.”
What are you working on next?
“Currently, I’m developing an adult animated comedy for women with my creative partner Jamie Parreno, under our animation studio, Not Jelly. That and toiling away at shorts until my fingers are bare to the bone and perfect for putting in an Iced Latte.”