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Alec Baldwin was not at the Beverly Hilton to promote controversial doc Seduced and Abandoned during Thursday’s Television Critics Association press tour — though he did appear via satellite from a Long Island vineyard.
Going back and forth with director James Toback, seated in the ballroom with reporters, Baldwin described the film, which he shot in 2012 at the Cannes Film Festival.
“The beginning of this was Jimmy and I thinking of a film we wanted to make,” said Baldwin. “We had so many ideas for this movie we wanted to make, and it evolved into the film we did make … which is a film about pitching a movie.”
Baldwin sits down with a slew of actors and actress in Seduced and Abandoned, discussing how their cinema careers have stacked up to their expectations and how money is treated by both talent and financiers.
“We were elated at the people who said yes,” said Baldwin, who interviews Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Polanski, Bernardo Bertolucci and Martin Scorsese in the film. “There were people we wanted who didn’t sit down with us. They didn’t understand what the film was or they didn’t want to expose themselves in that way.”
One interview Baldwin and Toback did not get was Harvey Weinstein. The 30 Rock star was famously overheard calling the producer a “douche bag” at Cannes when he would not agree to appear in Seduced and Abandoned. Baldwin later apologized.
“That lent to the excitement of it,” Baldwin says of the spontaneous sit-downs. “We didn’t know what was going to happen.”
With so much of the film focusing on money and the push for film franchises, Baldwin also opened up about his experiences with high-paying film work — namely his one-off playing Jack Ryan in Hunt for the Red October before Harrison Ford took over the role.
“While I tried to try and figure out how to do the film and another project, they found another person they wanted to do the film,” said Baldwin. “If you don’t find some way to work in films that are going to make some money, it is going to be a tough road… If they come your way, [don’t] dismiss them outright. Try to have a career like Hugh Jackman, who I think is the most successful in the ‘one for them, one for me’ program.”
On the subject of those films he may have done for the money, Baldwin tried to assure reporters that no one goes out of their way to do a bad film.
“Not many actors huddle up and say, ‘Let’s make the most mediocre film we can,” said Baldwin. “Most of the time you’re very hopeful, and then something happens, and you’re standing in front of a camera two or three or six months later, and you realize you’re not making the film. It is the director. The actors don’t make the film. The directors do.”
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