Hollywood hunk turned ingenious comedic actor Alec Baldwin has had a resurgence of career since nabbing a leading role on 30 Rock, and shows no signs of slowing down. This summer, the man with a voice like melted butter stars in Woody Allen's ensemble comedy To Rome With Love and modern musical Rock of Ages. The latter project has Baldwin singing, dancing, and navigating relationships with his partner in crime, Russell Brand. Just before the film's premiere, Buzzine's Emmanuel Itier had a chance to sit and chat with the actor about Brand, rock 'n' roll, and the message of Rock of Ages.
Emmanuel Itier: Rock of Ages is all about rock ‘n’ roll. What does “rock” mean to you?
Alec Baldwin: I think that two things; one is that it is loud, it's electronically enhanced loud, but there seems to be – even for me the music that I listened to when I was younger – the songs will come on ever now and then, and you have to turn it up really loud. It has to be played very loud [chuckles]. And for some reason, I don’t know what it is, some primal tribal music… I think it's music that is probably angrier and probably more honest in terms of how people think and feel about the music.
There is classical music, which is kind of a repertoire or symphonic music, which would take forever to discuss. But in popular music I think it's more direct. People come right out. It's not like ragtime and Broadway or Gershwin – they are more clever and romantic. Rockpeople tend to go – “I love you.” “I hate you…I hate this…I love this…I want to do this to you.” That kind of stuff.
EI: If you had to pick one particular song to sum up that feeling, what would it be?
AB: I couldn’t pick one song out of this – there are so many. I mean to me, the beginning of Rock for me is the Beatles when I was a little kid. So when you play “I Want to Hold Your Hand” or like the earliest Beatles’ song, that, to me, is rock. But actually it's like a fuse you lit and it just goes on from there – a whole domino effect that goes on into today. I would probably say rock is the Beatles.
EI: What would you say is the theme in this film?
AB: Well I think that the theme of the movie, if I can say that there is a theme for the movie, is probably – it's just a real cliché, but nonetheless -- follow your dreams. We work in a business where, if I listened to what half the people told me when I started, I would have ended up back in college. I wouldn’t have done what I was doing to make it in this business – where music is an extremely difficult thing to do. And it is extremely difficult. But this is one of those movies which has that kind of a show biz fairy tale quality to it. Follow your dream.
EI: Let’s talk about rocking with Russell, I am a big fan of Russell Brand –
AB: I can tell – the way you just said – Russell.
EI: I think you are the same way, right?
AB: Well many, many women have “the Russell” – I witnessed it. When Russell was on the set, all the women were fixing their hair and adjusting their blouses, and they were all primping for Russell.
EI: You and Russell play lovers in Rock of Ages. What was your working relationship like?
AB: I think when you work with someone and you have – regardless of whether the person becomes your love interest in the film – you have that kind of relationship with them, the film culminates in that. When you have a lot of scenes with one person or that is your primary scene partner, if you can have a great connection with them and you really like them and you work the same way – we are both a little improv. We try things. There is no one who is easier to work with than Russell. He is a lot of fun to shoot with.
EI: What about Tom Cruise? Your cast mates have all been ranting and raving about their “Tom Cruise moments”.
AB: All of us wanted to come and see [other musical numbers], per our availability, because some of this stuff was shot when I was gone. I wanted to see Diego and Julie Ann and so forth. But probably none more so than when Tom did his numbers in the club and we came. My mouth was on the floor. My jaw was on the floor. Tom really did the most amazing thing I can think of. Tom is someone who, over the last ten years of his career and has made all these iconic films, [and] keeps pushing and trying to do other things. And h has done them well. I cannot tell you how impressed I was with Tom. I was blown away.
'Rock of Ages' premiers Friday, June 15th, 2012. Be sure to check out our Buzzine Interview with the rest of the cast.