NPR 4 THE DEAF: Being Alec Baldwin

Photo via Men’s Journal


Alec Baldwin stars in two movies this summer — and they couldn’t be more different. In Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love, Baldwin joins an ensemble cast including Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Roberto Benigni and Penelope Cruz as they romp around the Eternal City — running into trouble, weathering existential crises and falling in — and out — of love. Meanwhile, in Adam Shankman’s Rock of Ages, the big-screen adaptation of the jukebox Broadway musical, Baldwin dons long locks and joins Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Bryan Cranston, and Catherine Zeta-Jones in homage to ’80s rock ‘n’ roll. And, of course, he’s still playing TV executive Jack Donaghy on the NBC hit sitcom 30 Rock. It’s a far cry from his more dramatic roles in the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s, when he starred in movies like The Hunt for Red October, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Departed and The Cooler. He tells Fresh Air‘s Dave Davies that he decided to make the switch from movies to TV a decade ago, mainly because it better suited his schedule as a father. “Often in films, you have no idea where you’re going to be six months from now,” he says. “And I grew very weary of that. And television, although it wasn’t necessarily as creatively diverse as filmmaking can be, it was the lifestyle choice that I needed to make.” Playing Jack Donaghy for seven seasons has established Baldwin as a tour de force in the comedy world. He based the character, he says, on several already-existing GE and NBC executives — and SNL creator Lorne Michaels. “Professionally, he’s a prototype of several GE executives, but in his personal life, he’s [SNL creator] Lorne Michaels. As I always say, ‘Lorne is someone who has a tuxedo in the glove compartment of his car.’ And Lorne is a friend, and I adore Lorne. But we do stick it to Lorne a lot,” says Baldwin. He says he also thinks of Donaghy as a guy who’s always in a hurry — a guy who likes to get things done. “I never think, ‘Oh, how can I make this guy more arrogant or bombastic?’ ” he says. “I think to myself, ‘There’s something he wants, and he wants to get it done.’ You have to think, ‘What does he want? And how does he go about getting it?’ ” MORE