Interview: Adam Baldwin Reveals The Truth About Acting In Modern Hollywood
Adam Baldwin spoke with Bounding into Comics and revealed some truths about modern Hollywood in the most entertaining interview of the year.
Adam Baldwin exclusively spoke with Bounding into Comics and revealed the truth about the acting profession in modern Hollywood. And you get to read all about it in an interview like you’ve never read before.
Instead of writing up a straightforward Q&A, which bores some readers, I turned the conversation with Mr. Baldwin into an outlandish narrative. In short, this means that the below story (intentionally with some truly terrible prose) is entirely contrived.
It’s a very thin framing device that has Mr. Baldwin and I contracted out by a wealthy individual to stop a group of thieves from robbing him blind. So it’s fake and without much detail but the questions and answers are one hundred percent real—enjoy it!
“With all the choices in entertainment—TV, movies, streaming, internet—has that changed the acting profession and is it now much harder or more competitive? Or do you think things are kind of the same?” I asked Adam.
Blood continued flowing from the head wound that the woman had given me. Our client had told us that the thieves would be eager for a fight but that was okay, because we were eager too.
“There seems to be more work for less money,” Adam answered as we advanced. “I think that’s what it really is because it’s all spread out unless you’re a bona fide star on the cover of magazines, or if you put butts in seats.”
He nodded at shadows moving behind the frosted window of the door ahead of us and I nodded back. “But the down-the-line folks, they’re probably paid less.”
Our client had initially failed to mention that he owned this upstate mansion and so we had been focused on securing his city penthouse. By the time we pried it out of him that he had this place and a safe full of cash here as well, the lady gang had a huge head start and their theft was well underway by the time we arrived.
“Once upon a time when I started in the business you could do two or three independent movies for 50-60-100 grand a year, and your year was set, and there were lots of those. That’s not so much true anymore,” Adam continued.
“Even if you weren’t one of the leads you could still make a living that way, so I would hate to be starting now into the business. It’s tougher, more competitive—which is fine since I’m all for competition—but I’m glad to be looking at it in my rear-view mirror.”
As we neared the door, one of the shadows behind the frosted glass reached for the handle. I held out my hand towards Adam and raised my purloined weapon.
“How much experience have you had working on streaming, dramatized podcasts, or any other forms of new entertainment?”
“I’ve visited with many over the years and I’m comfortable with the podcast format,” he replied. “I think it’s fun.”
The door flew open and two women burst out with rifles leveled. I popped off two shots, each piece of lead flying past their ears and slamming into opposite sides of the doorframe.
The gals shrieked and collided into each other, cracking their skulls together. We rushed them.
“Have you ever thought of doing one of your own like Joe Rogan has?” I asked as I charged into the woman on the left and sent her heels over head.
“I have except for it’s kind of a saturated market,” he answered as he bowled over the woman on the right like an angry tornado tearing into a trailer park. “What would I even talk about?”
I dropped an elbow on the woman’s head and took her rifle from her. After a quick field strip, I pocketed the firing pin.
“Would I get in there and start looking for rage clicks and criticize the business, or be a film critic, or TV critic?” he asked as he rendered his foe unconscious and grabbed her weapon. “That sounds boring to me: invite some friends on and talk about life, golf, travel, movies, guns, bombs, planes.”
“But isn’t that what people are doing?” I asked. “Zach Braff did the whole thing with Scrubs, and there are more actors going that way.”
“Yeah, Jason Bateman’s got one; there’s a bunch out there,” he said. “You got to set up the whole studio in your house, and you got to shut the dogs up.”
“Yep. You got to invest a lot of money into it,” I said.
“That’d be okay. It’s just the time,” he told me.
Zip ties secured the women and we moved through the door. On the other side of it was an even larger room and darkness consumed it long before we could see its end.
“As far as acting goes, you said on The Salty Nerd Podcast you’re kind of tired of that,” I said. “Did you say that facetiously or are you at the point where you’re ready to stop working?”
“Half-and-half, I guess,” he replied. “There’s some work out there but like I said on the podcast, I was warned early that the late 20s would be tough and the late 50s, 60s would be tough so I was prepared for that.
“Because I’m still too young to play grandpa. So I’m biding my time here and we’ll see what happens.”
“On the podcast you said that in your late 20s you’re no longer really a kid but you’re also not really a man,” I mentioned. “Did you say that because of what studios were looking for physically or are you talking about the whole package—because you’re not mentally there either?”
“Both. Also, I’ve always been a tall guy, a large guy, and so I think folks may have thought I was older than I was yet baby faced, or inexperienced, younger than I was,” he told me.
“So I think until I actually achieved some personal experience—gravitas or whatever—when I got married and had kids, that I was still a kid,” he continued. “I was in that in-between stage but I was ready for that and I said to myself: ‘Okay, so I guess I’ll be raising my kids now.’”
“I guess I thought it was interesting because I found the same thing in my life when I was in my late twenties,” I said. “I was aging out of the young demographic but nobody really considered me to be an adult at the same time.”
“I did work in that 27-35 age range,” he clarified. “But I was piecemealing it together, or as I like to call it: connective tissue.”
“It was when I hit 35, or 36, and into the 40s when things took off again. I got Firefly when I was 40, and I guess I got into The X-Files a little before that,” he added.
“But in the connective tissue years? I was just hanging out with my wife, raising the kids, playing a little golf, doing some traveling, living life.”
A blur came at me from around a corner and I dodged it just in time to avoid a buttstroke to the head. A right hook from me connected with the temple of the woman holding the rifle and she hit the floor like a sack of potatoes; zip ties did their work again.
“You mentioned that the acting profession is more competitive now,” I said. “Have you ever considered creating your own intellectual property by putting together a comic book, or writing a novel, or something else like that?”
“Yeah, I’ve considered that but there are some challenges.” He squinted and maneuvered around an overturned desk.
“You need to have a publisher willing to publish your material and I had that at one point but we ran into some headwinds, shall we say,” he continued. “I won’t go into detail but you can probably fill in the blanks if I give you the year: 2014, 15, 16.
“In any case, whatever the future holds I have some material I’m holding in reserve and we’ll see if anything ever comes of it. But again, hey, man, I’m 60 and I’m having a ball.”
Some sounds resonated off the walls and ceiling in the distance, but it was a lot less than I expected considering the rest of the women knew we were coming. We made like wraiths as best we could, weaving around furniture and keeping our rifles at the low ready.
My eyes adjusted to the darkness but I still didn’t see the end of the room. “Did writing for Breitbart ever cause you problems since Hollywood and the ruling class viewed Andrew Breitbart as an enemy?”
“Well, again, like I said on The Salty Nerd Podcast, I think the great majority—the silent majority—of Hollywood reflects the silent majority of the country,” he replied. “The outspoken folks in Hollywood, I guess, didn’t like conservative views of which Breitbart espoused, and I think he was a villain because he was fearless and he took on the powers that be.
“But you’d be surprised by how many people in Hollywood are conservative. So maybe there were Breitbart problems, but I met him and wrote for him starting in 2009 or 2010—somewhere in there—and I worked consistently during that period of time.”
“So you’ve figured out how to maintain relationships with people who don’t necessarily agree with you,” I noted.
“The trick is, number one: never lie, and number two: don’t personalize things,” he explained. “I learned that in marriage; avoid the word ‘you’ and you can go a long way.”
Two more female foes slowly came into sight. We split up with me against one wall and Adam on the other, and we kept whatever we could between us and them so they couldn’t get a clean view of us.
He grabbed a heavy jar off a shelf but I couldn’t tell what was in the lump of glass. He shot me a look and I glued my boots in place.
Both of the women growled unintelligibly at us right before he removed the lid from the jar and threw its contents at their feet. I hazarded a peek around my cover and saw both of their legs go out from under them—it was the ol’ marbles-on-the-floor trick.
We rushed them and kicked their rifles away from their desperately reaching hands.
I gently subdued one woman with a few crushing body blows and a rear naked choke before tying her to a post. “On the Salty Nerd Podcast they mentioned something about how Hollywood views the military.”
“I was in the military for a few years and I always find it interesting to see military portrayals on TV. Other veterans kind of flip out if things aren’t exactly right and I always thought that was stupid,” I said.
“For instance, Chuck was always more focused on the interactions between the characters than the technical details, which worked well for the show,” I continued. “But have people ever come up to you and said, ‘That’s not how the military really works,’ or anything like that?”
I retrieved the woman’s weapon. And I rendered it inert the same way as the others.
“Well, I’m always interested in getting things technically right. I evolved over time learning how to handle handguns and rifles,” he told me.
The furious female fought hard against him but it was as if he didn’t even notice it. He immobilized her in seconds.
“I’ve gotten better at it as I’ve trained and I think that’s important to depict if that’s a character you’re portraying,” he said. “But if there are holes in the plot, you know, Chuck was a smart action-comedy, so we didn’t take that stuff too seriously.”
“Obviously we took the weapons seriously when we were quote-unquote live-firing with blanks because we know how dangerous that can be and everyone needed to be trained—or are required to be trained, actually. So I pride myself on being competent with firearms.”
“So that’s pretty well-regulated on set as far as there are steps and things you need to do when handling a firearm,” I said.
“Absolutely,” he replied while securing the woman’s weapon and clearing it. “State laws can be very specific about the handling of firearms or other dangerous substances or objects—a car, explosives, whatever—and there is no actors’ exemption in state laws.”
“But above and beyond that you have union requirements—safety requirements—that you must be trained by the armorer and the prop master,” he continued. “And any time you feel uncomfortable with your weapon you have to ask questions and continue training, and the responsibility falls on the actor.”
Ahead of us was a wall and a mahogany door with a coat of arms featuring a wyvern on it. We moved to the left—to the hidden door that the intruders obviously hadn’t found.
I stood next to the hidden door, my hand gently touching the secret panel. “One of the strange thing people ask actors is if they stay in touch with their co-stars.”
“I say it’s strange because at the end of the day actors are just coworkers,” I added. “There are a lot of coworkers whom I’ve never contacted again after I left a job, so I was wondering if there is more of a tendency for actors to stay in touch with one another or if it all depends on who it is.”
“It all depends on who it is,” he answered. “If you make friends on a set, that’s gravy, but we don’t make TV shows to make friends; if that’s an outgrowth from the experience, great.”
“I’m still acquainted with and have friendly conversations with the Firefly gang; we have a text chain that whenever news in anyone’s life comes along it just gets blinged on that text chain. Same thing with Chuck, and that’s a beautiful thing,” he explained.
“And I got to work with Zac Levi again in American Underdog,” he added. “That was fun.”
“He played Kurt Warner. Didn’t he?” I replied.
“Yes. He’s a wonderful man,” he said.
I activated the secret panel and the hidden door swung open. Inside, off to our right, was the Brunette, with her focus fully on the mahogany door.
I kicked a chair at her before she realized what was happening. It slammed into her and down she went, her gun skittering across the floor towards the open safe and all of the dough spilling out of it.
“His career kind of blew up after Chuck,” I said.
“I call him the modern Dick Van Dyke,” he told me. “He’s a quadruple threat: he can sing, dance, act, and—what’s the fourth one?—he can shoot.”
The Brunette got up and I bounded after her. I tackled her right before she reached her lost gun.
“Why aren’t conservatives creating entertainment instead of just complaining about it?” I asked. “I left the conservative movement because I discovered that their complaining isn’t a means to an end, but an end in itself.”
Adam calmly secured the gun as I wrestled with the Brunette. “Well, the mistake is calling it, or labeling it, a conservative or Christian project.”
“Just make a good story, and you can have foundational family, Christian, conservative values in and amongst it as long as the story is good,” he told me. “You know, loyalty, family, courage—those sorts of things.
“I mean, you look at Top Gun: Maverick and you think about why that’s doing well. Because it wears its Americana on its sleeve but that’s the franchise.”
“Like The Searchers with John Wayne.” The Brunette elbowed me in the mouth and I tasted copper.
“Right. Or The Incredibles,” he added.
“What about The Daily Wire? Anybody contact you from there or can’t you say?” I asked.
The Brunette gave me a solid punch. I slugged her even harder and she went limp.
“Well, they’re my buddies,” he said, stuffing all the money back into the safe and shutting it. “I’m open to good stories and I would like to lean towards playing a villain.”
“Like I love Nick Searcy as a villain. That’s the sort of role I gravitate towards now.”
I got up and threw the Brunette over my shoulder like a rolled up wrestling mat. “He got good reviews for the movie, which said it wasn’t preachy or conservative but just a good film.”
“They’re good guys,” he said. “Jeremy Boreing is a wonderful guy; they all get a bad rap because they’re fighting against the status quo.”
“Jeremy is a brilliant, brilliant man,” he continued. “And that reminds me, I need a shave; got to go get my Jeremy’s Razors.”
We exfiltrated and I pulled out my phone and dialed the client; next I’d call the authorities to get most of the women. As the client answered, Adam nodded and hopped in his car and drove away.