Comedy is not necessarily top of the mind when one thinks of Christoph Waltz, but consider this: going back to his acclaimed hosting gig on “Saturday Night Live” last year, his recent appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” performing the “Sesame Street” theme song and now with “Horrible Bosses 2,” Waltz has opened up comedic venues for his diverse talents.
Waltz, who will receive a star Dec. 1 on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, says his interest in “HB2” was piqued by a clash of narrative approaches taken in the Sean Anders-helmed sequel to the 2011 hit, in which he co-stars with Chris Pine as conniving father-son investors taking Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis for a ride.
“Three silly men or boys in a very serious story — a thriller — that’s how they treated this, and that’s why it works so well,” he says of the comedy, which opens wide Nov. 26.
Yet Waltz, a two-time Oscar winner for his supporting roles in a pair of Quentin Tarantino films, “Inglourious Basterds” (2009) and “Django Unchained” (2012), also has a slew of serious roles upcoming — including as Walter Keane in “Big Eyes,” opposite Amy Adams.
Popular on Variety
Directed by Tim Burton and already being compared to his “Ed Wood,” the film is based on the real-life story of a charismatic huckster who takes credit for his wife’s kitschy art that was wildly popular in the 1960s and builds an empire from it, until said empire — and their relationship — comes crashing down.
Although the Keane saga is true, Waltz says the facts of the story don’t play into the shaping of his character except as they are written in the script.
“As Tim said, the real thing is so far beyond believability that you wouldn’t be able to communicate that as truth,” the Austrian actor says. “We work from imagination, intuition and inspiration as much as from facts. I’m not an historian. I find it a little dubious or dangerous to claim the truth. Our truth as actors is the truth of drama, which is different.”
Next year, Waltz, 58, is to star in the long-gestating “Tulip Fever,” with a screenplay by Tom Stoppard. It’s set in 17th century Holland, a time when a single tulip bulb could fetch more than an average year’s salary In 2016, he’ll play Captain Rom in David Yates’ “Tarzan,” one of the longest-running properties in film history.
“The recognition and chances I get have changed my life substantially, along with operating in a different culture, something I’ve aspired to,” says Waltz. “Being propelled into projects and parts through the recognition is immense for me. I really like that I can value that and I really know what it means to appreciate that change. It’s enormous.”