Christopher Walken once worked as a lion tamer.

The actor has taken on a number of interesting roles on screen, including killers, crime lords, a crazed Vietnam veteran and a James Bond villain, but one of his early jobs away from the cameras at a local circus was his most daring.

In an interview with ShortList magazine, he explained: ''It was owned by this man, Carol Jacobs, who was a professional lion-tamer. The main act was him lion-taming with all these big cats, and he decided as a kind of publicity gimmick that I'd dress up just like him, and it would be announced that I was his son.

''When he was done with his act, he'd chase his big cats out and he left one little lioness, her name was Sheba, and I would come into the cage and wave the whip around and Sheba would do some tricks. But Sheba was like a big, nice, old dog.''

While he was adept at keeping killer big cats in check, the 'Seven Psychopaths' star found it very difficult to keep penguins in check on the set of 'Batman Returns'.

The screen icon played ruthless businessman Max Schreck in the 1992 superhero adventure alongside Danny Devito as villain The Penguin, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader and he remembers the flightless birds required for some scenes caused havoc on set.

He explained: ''Penguins are like cats, they're very hard to control. They would let them go and they would run in all different directions, but that's not their fault; it's just the way they are. Penguins do whatever they want.''