Self-Described Failure Alec Baldwin Talks Career Highlights

December 16, 2009
Source: Wired

Alec Baldwin

A little while back it was said that Alec Baldwin simply didn't have an interest in his craft anymore and would be retiring from acting when his award-winning bout on NBC's comedy series "30 Rock" ended, most likely around 2012. To make matters worse, Baldwin went even deeper and darker: "I consider my entire movie career a complete failure." Powerful, but sad words from a gifted actor. Some people have written this off as an empty promise, but when Baldwin sat down with Wired, he went through his career ups and downs and talked about how making terrible films has saved his career on many occasions. Read on!

Despite Baldwin's follies from losing the Jack Ryan franchise to Harrison Ford after The Hunt for Red October to appearances in less than stellar films like My Best Friend's Girl and The Cat in the Hat, it seems his failures ultimately ended up saving his career in another fashion. As far as his entire film career goes, Baldwin said, "I made films from about '86 until '99. And then things started to really wind down. When your fortunes ebb in the movie business, it's like The Sixth Sense. You're dead and you don't know it." But he feels there's been some redemption because of his success on "30 Rock." But before television came around for a pick-me-up, Baldwin had plenty of rises and falls as you can see in this great graph Wired put together:

Baldwin Graph

Despite a classic and iconic (albeit brief) appearance in Glengarry Glen Ross, he fell slave to mercenary acting. Baldwin recalls, "People don't realize actors are like plumbers. When you invite a plumber to your house and say, “I want you to put this sink in my bathroom,” the plumber doesn't say, 'I'm not going to install that sink, it's hideous. You have the worst taste in sinks!' No, he just says, 'OK,' and he puts it in." This mentality is evident with appearances in films like The Getaway. But it was also this same practice that led him to a career saving realization.

A couple years ago Baldwin starred in My Best Friend's Girl which Baldwin said "had one of the worst scripts I've ever read in my life. The movie was a huge disaster. Scathing reviews. And I realized: I'm done with doing it for the money." I think we all realized it then too. Fortunately, Baldwin hasn't ruined his career, but it sounds like he's already got some ideas for a future after acting which includes writing another book (he published his first book, A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce last year) and maybe even running for public office.

Of course, I think many of us are hoping that there's another career saver for Baldwin around the corner, and maybe he does, too. In fact Baldwin already knows what it is: "Another sitcom. Probably a sidekick role on Jack McBrayer's Kenneth spinoff. We're all going to be working for the '30 Rock' page." All right, well maybe something a little better than that I hope, and in film, please? What do you guys think about Baldwin's Career?

Find more posts: Discuss, Editorial



The guy is a fantastic failure. He's done enough good work to justify his current position without it redeeming him entirely.

Mark on Dec 16, 2009


these continuous statements must be some oscar PR game

twispious on Dec 16, 2009


do we need to feel sorry for him? He chose to be in those films.

Xerxex on Dec 16, 2009


Twispious, While normally I would agree, it would make more sense for something like this to appear in a magazine geared toward an audience who would have more influence or care of the Oscars or film in general. But the publication is Wired, and they're not exactly the go to magazine when you want Academy Award buzz.

Ethan Anderton on Dec 16, 2009


Has he made ANY good films? How can anyone say this guy is talented? Never been impressed with Alec Baldwin. Adam maybe... 😉

harm on Dec 16, 2009


U never know if a film is going to be horrible or not so i dont blame him for bad direction and a writer that can put something down on paper that sounds good but once its acted out it doesnt sound too good...so i blame the studios for putting those horrible movies together they should be lucky to get such good actors.

tankmaster on Dec 16, 2009


I agree w/ #3.. He did have a choice and he chose some pretty crappy movies... I still think Beetlejuice was awesome!

Toucmyinfection on Dec 16, 2009


Lymelife,The Departed, The Aviator, Beetle Juice, the hunt for red october,etc, and he thinks he's a failure? wow. high standards.

crumb on Dec 16, 2009


I watched "The Juror" for the first time recently, and loved it. Alec Baldwin was excellent in that film. And as for his career as an actor, I'm sure he will continue to prosper.

The Man With No Name on Dec 17, 2009


hey heyyy My Best Friend's Girl was a great movie!

ADM86 on Dec 17, 2009


He should have voiced himself in "Team America" instant redemption. Even though "My Best Friends Girl" was awful, his part on the unrated version was incredible good. Funniest scene ever is when he talked about fucking a girl within an inch of her life. Killer stuff. Worth wathcing that trash for again.

Big Red Moose on Dec 17, 2009


He should have voiced himself in "Team America" instant redemption. Even though "My Best Friends Girl" was awful, his part on the unrated version was incredible good. Funniest scene ever is when he talked about fucking a girl within an inch of her life. Killer stuff. Worth wathcing that trash for again.

Big Red Moose on Dec 17, 2009


I read that Christopher Nolan originally wanted Alec Baldwin for the lead in Memento, but he declined because he wouldn't have been paid enough. What an idiot.

Shane on Dec 17, 2009


He is awesome and I hope he gets more sweet lines like: "I'm gonna go have a smoke right now. You want a smoke? You don't smoke, do ya, right? What are ya, one of those fitness freaks, huh? Go fuck yourself." Best line ever.

Matt on Dec 17, 2009


And have you ever seen The Edge? Wear he fights the super-bear with Anthony Hopkins? Now there's a film. Especially the amount of times Baldwin says Charles. Charles. Charles. Listen to me Charles. He says it 118 times. Frickin' awesome. "Never too late for a kind gesture eh Charles?"

Matt on Dec 17, 2009


If he feels like a failure, imagine his brothers moaning at the dinner table this christmas...

Henjolo on Dec 17, 2009


He has to play Donald Trump one day and then retire...please.

pipo on Dec 17, 2009


His best performance was as Pete Schweddy on snl. Gotta love those Schweddy Balls!

TRat on Dec 17, 2009


its nice to know that he even agrees with me.

taylor on Dec 17, 2009


As a 'failed' actor, he could definitely do politics. He'd be a fantastic actor there. And he's a progressive anti-neocon, the only way to be.

tyrascilee on Dec 17, 2009


i will be sad to to see him quit acting

samuel j on Dec 17, 2009


He's a failure of his own accord. Stop throwing yourself pity parties. Either quit acting or stop worrying about $ and find a movie you really care about.

germs on Dec 17, 2009


#7: I was thinking the same thing - Beetlejuice IS awesome!

Mat on Dec 17, 2009


C'mon! The Getaway was an awesome flick! Kim Basinger naked, Michael Madsen shooting Philip Seymour Hoffman and screwing Jennifer Tilly in front of her husband. James Woods, lots of death. Oh yes!

Tj on Dec 20, 2009

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