A confirmed Banksy painting was destroyed when Christopher Walken painted over it on the set of BBC One’s “The Outlaws.”
But it was all part of the plan.
Banksy agreed to paint his trademark rats, which for the “Outlaws” piece sits on two spray cans, complete with his signature. Walken’s character Frank paints over the wall where they appear in the final episode of the show Wednesday night.
While performing community service, Frank discovers the painting and asks his probation officer if he should paint over it.
Without recognizing the painting because she is looking in the other direction when Frank asks, she tells him to paint over it, covering up Banksy’s artwork.
The comedy-drama series follows a motley crew completing community service. The show also takes place in Banksy’s hometown of Bristol, England, filming and all. Before filming the last episode, Banksy agreed to leave his signature on the set, according to BBC News. BBC confirmed that the work was in fact a Banksy original.
“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 statement read.
It’s uncertain whether a worthy restoration was possible. Given the potential value of the Banksy painting, it would seem likely.
Banksy, an artist who frequently uses surprise and shock tactics to make statements with his work, has never confirmed his full identity. The mysterious ways in which he “leaves” his art for others to find makes it that much more interesting and valuable.
Banksy began his career spray-painting buildings in Bristol and has become one of the world’s best-known artists. His shredded artwork “Love is in the Bin” sold for a record $25.4 million while his “Show Me the Monet” sold for $9.8 million.
“The Outlaws,” written and directed by Stephen Merchant, stars Walken as one of a group of minor criminals refurbishing a building for their penance.