*Alec Baldwin is the voice North in “Rise of the Guardians” and is instrumental in bringing together a crew of immortals to protect children all over the world from the evil spirit Pitch (Jude Law), who is out to steal their dreams and happiness. In an interview with Baldwin, he rose to the occasion and revealed a personal side of himself when The Film Strip played the devil’s advocate by asking him if dreams are important. The wisecracking Baldwin paused for a moment and then became very candid.
“I’m at that stage now where it’s more like when you were a child, where you’re very present,” he told me. “When you’re a kid, everything is very small and you can play with a ball, you could play with a toy, you could play with an animal, you could run around a field for hour after hour and do something very simple. Then the world gets broader and broader and more complicated and bigger and more distracting. There are ambitions to content with, and you have all our ambitions, and you have your sexuality, fantasies about money and power, and whatever you want to do in your life. Then you turn 50 and it goes the other way, it’s narrow again, and for me I’d rather just stay home with my wife and my two dogs and watch TV now. I’d rather watch a movie than make a movie any day now.”
“Seriously,” he went on to say, “the world becomes a lot smaller and you’d rather do less things and do them well and have a more satisfying personal life than the way I was for 20 years of my life where I was chain smoking my ambition. Going here and there, and doing this and this, and trying to cover as many bases as I could. So, I don’t think that dreams are over emphasized in any culture, any society because. I don’t want to get into the whole what is reality idea, but I know that my reality just becomes more and more about taking away and economizing, and making everything more real and simple every day.”
“Rise of the Guardians” also stars Chris Pine, Isla Fisher, Hugh Jackman, Khamani Griffin and Kamil McFadden and is directed by Peter Ramsey.
In an extraordinary tale of survival that involves the shipwrecked Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma) and Richard Parker (a 450 pound Bengal Tiger), a magical alliance develops and the two learn to depend on each other. “Life of Pi” is based on Yann Martel’s the best-selling novel and it was quite an undertaking for director Ang Lee to bring it to the screen.
Ang, after reading the book, what were your thoughts in terms of making it into a movie?
Well, I read it when the book came out. I found it fascinating and mind-boggling. I remember thinking to myself, ‘Nobody in their right mind would adapt this because the literature is a philosophy regardless how cinematic it is. It would be very, very sensitive and nearly impossible to do and how would you sell this thing? I think the economics side and the artistic side never meet, just like the Life of Pi. About four years ago Elizabeth Gabler (president of Fox 2000)approached me and little by little it started to become my destiny, my fate so to speak.
How did the discussions about the spirituality goand did you speak to anyone of the shipwreck survivors?
Yes, I did meet a survivor. His name is Steve Callahan who happened to be a good writer. In the 70s he had a shipwreck and he was adrift I think for 76 days by himself on a plastic little raft. He wrote a pretty great book, Adrift: 76 Days Lost At Sea. I took him to Taiwan to make the movie together as a consultant to me on the spiritual side because of his experience, details, and what he went through. He’s a very spiritual leader for us because he’s fighting cancer at the same time. He’s in the hospital. So he’s a man we all cherish, you know.
How did illusionary scenes play into the movie?
In one of the scenes you its said, ‘You don’t know the strength of your faith until it’s been tested. Actually Pi’s journey for me with the tiger started with that scene. It’s a scene about his illusions, about coming of age. Many movies I do involve innocence, and I would call that on this first scene. I think the book has a little bit of loss of paradise because he is innocent, and he has all of this imagination already in his head, along with spiritual things. Then he goes further in the ocean where he cannot even rely on his imagination. He’s faced with an abstract idea of God. So in that the journey of disillusionment begins.
Syndicated columnist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]