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Alec Baldwin's disappointment, undimmed by success. - The New Yorker


Ian Parker profiles Alec Baldwin in The New Yorker

Alec Baldwin’s Disappointment, Undimmed by Success

In “Why Me?” (p. 48), Ian Parker profiles Alec Baldwin and discovers that the success Baldwin has had with the NBC sitcom “30 Rock” “has revived his career and done nothing to lift his spirits.” “He is very conscious of what is lacking in his life—a spouse, for example, and a film career something like Jack Nicholson’s, and the governorship of New York,” Parker writes; or, as his brother Billy says, “There’s always something for him to fucking whine about.” Parker explores Baldwin’s relationship with his brothers (when asked about Alec’s views on his younger brothers entering show business, Billy Baldwin tells Parker, “I think he thinks we felt, ‘If that idiot can do it, I’ll give it a shot.’ And on some level that’s sort of true”), his ex-wife (“Think I’m walking stiffly?” Baldwin asks. “Yeah, there’s a hundred-and-twenty-pound actress on my back”), and NBC during the launch of “30 Rock” (“If the show does succeed, it’ll be something of a fucking miracle, because NBC hasn’t done a fucking thing to help this show at all. This show is the red-headed stepchild in the lineup”). Parker writes, “Baldwin is perhaps too easily seduced by a narrative of grand failure rather than a quieter story of qualified success.” “To be Leo!” he tells Parker, referring to Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of Howard Hughes in “The Aviator.” “To have a huge role like that! To play the role that is the fizz in the drink, you know what I mean? You are the movie! I wish I could play the lead role in one movie, one great movie.” Yet, he tells Parker, “Do you want to know the truth? I don’t think I really have a talent for movie acting. I’m not bad at it, but I don’t think I really have a talent for it.” He says, “My life, in some ways, has been a half-measure. I didn’t commit myself all the way to my marriage and family, because I would have given up more. And I didn’t go all the way with just being completely selfish. I always wonder where my career would be if I was more selfish.” Baldwin cites the battle he fought with ex-wife Kim Basinger over their daughter as the cause of the stress in his professional life and the reason for his well-publicized blowup on the phone with his daughter last year. “When the tape came out, I wanted to die,” Baldwin tells Parker. “I wanted to die, literally. I didn’t want to live anymore. Every night I’d say my prayers and I’d say, ‘Please don’t let me wake up in the morning. I don’t want to do this anymore.’ ” By this spring, the public outrage over the argument had subsided, and this year Baldwin was once again nominated for a Golden Globe, a SAG Award, and an Emmy for his role on “30 Rock.” Yet despite his success, Parker writes, “Baldwin’s response has largely been: Where did it all go wrong?” He tells Parker, “To me it’s getting to that point where there’s just something else I want to do. I don’t know what it is. I’m tired of being somebody else. I spend the waking hours of my life saying things that other people think and say and do. And behaving as someone else. I’m tired of it. I want to be me! I want to be myself!”













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