The moment occurred as the actor was filming the season finale of the BBC One series The Outlaws, which aired Wednesday (November 10th). In the scene, Walken’s character — Frank — covers up the Banksy original featuring the anonymous artist’s signature rat while doing community service.
“We can confirm that the artwork at the end of The Outlaws was an original Banksy, and that Christopher Walken painted over that artwork during the filming of this scene, ultimately destroying it,” a BBC spokesperson said in a statement after the episode aired.
But not to worry, it turns out the destruction was actually approved by Banksy ahead of time. According to the New York Post, “set designers brought in [the piece of art] with permission from the artist himself to have it destroyed” in a single take.
This isn’t the first time a Banksy piece has been ruined; in July 2020, cleaners unwittingly removed one of the artist’s original works from the London Underground, thinking it was “like any other graffiti” in the Tube. Of course, Banksy himself has destroyed his own artwork as well.
Filmed on location in Banksy’s hometown of Bristol, The Outlaws is already set for a second season and also stars Stephen Merchant, Rhianne Barreto, Gamba Cole, Darren Boyd, Clare Perkins, Eleanor Tomlinson, Jessica Gunning, Ian McElhinney, and more.
Last December the, Walken made waves by revealing he’s never owned a cell phone, computer, or sent an email in his life. Meanwhile, Banksy took credit for the artwork that popped up on the side of the now-closed Reading Prison last March using a video of Bob Ross.