Alec Baldwin and Robert Osborne, co-hosts of TCM network's The Essentials. / Justin Stephens/TCM
At least one type of movie will never appear on Turner Classic Movies The Essentials cinema series: those that star Alec Baldwin.
“One of the chief reasons I do this program is we’re never going to talk about my movies,” says the Oscar-nominated actor, who’s made more than films, according to imdb.com, and co-hosts the show with Robert Osbsorne (Saturday, 8 p.m. E.T.). “I like it that way.”
Baldwin has stuck primarily with the small screen in recent years, playing Tina Fey’s boss Jack Donaghy to Emmy-winning success on TV’s 30 Rock.
Instead of talking about his own flicks, we asked Baldwin about other people’s, movie critics and classic faves.
How do you and Robert choose what movies to include?
“We try to keep ourselves in the realm of movies we think are great films, but in the end I don’t expect everybody to agree with all the choices that I make. Robert and I would kid each other about the 1962 Mutiny on the Bounty with Marlon Brando. He doesn’t think it’s a classic film, but I do because there were a lot of things that Brando did in that movie that I like. And I love Trevor Howard as well.”
What movie classic would you most have wanted to star in?
“I could never pick one and say, ‘I wish I was in that movie.’ There are films I’d like to see and films I’d like to make, and there’s a distinction between the two. I guess I’d like to make films like they don’t make anymore: Robin Hood, Captain Blood, Mutiny on the Bounty or The Red Badge of Courage.”
Do you think you'd be a good film critic?
“I’d be a great film critic. Most film critics make a huge mistake — they don’t factor in what people's intentions were from the beginning. All they look at is the finished product and they reward or punish people for what the result of the movie was. The actors are included when the actors actually have the least amount of responsibility for the film. The movie business is a director’s medium, and it’s really incumbent on critics to understand who is responsible for what’s on screen.”
Are you the type of guy who reads his own reviews?
“Sometimes, if it’s there. I haven’t made that many movies for the last few years. If I’m reading the New Yorker and it’s in front of me, I might read it, but I don’t really seek out reviews of films anymore.”
What are Jack Donaghy's essential movies?
“The Green Berets with John Wayne, Other People’s Money with Danny DeVito, Wall Street, of course. World War II movies like Saving Private Ryan with American heroes in action. Any movie where incredibly desirable and pliant women are available to a high-powered businessman — my character’s a bit of a sexist as well. He doesn’t need any women who have too many opinions of their own.”
What is your favorite way to watch films: movie nights with friends or evenings alone?
“Usually popping a DVD into a computer. A good time for me to watch films is on a plane when I’m traveling. I go to the movies but not as often as I’d like.”
What's the last great movie you saw?
“I liked The King’s Speech a lot. Colin Firth played the guy as so unappealing and so arrogant and prickly with people, and then as the movie went on about 20 minutes, then I realized the genius of it: That was exactly how those people were. They did not have the ability to interact with anyone outside their own bubble very well. What Colin did was incredible.”