On Wednesday, October 29th at Jacob Burns, Alec Baldwin paid tribute to fellow actor and close friend Paul Newman with Janet Maslin of The New York Times. Of course, well versed on everything from politics to paternity, he took the opportunity to entertain the audience to tears after a screening of “A Long Hot Summer,” which also starred Joanne Woodward. But the emotional exhibition that stood out most among all the laughter clearly belonged to the 50 year old actor.
Marveling at the chance to witness Newman and Woodward falling in love on screen, he couldn’t help but voice his feelings at the sudden end of their amazing life together. “Seeing this movie breaks my heart,” he said in sincerity.
In a more lighthearted tone and only in the way a true friend could do, he had an objective opinion about Newman’s good but not great performance in the Faulkner classic. That progression didn’t happen, he said, “until he got some tarnish on the chrome.”
Conversely, he pointed out that the sighs of greatness were already showing. In numerous scenes, Newman was stuck on the side staring off into what
Baldwin called the “cinematic abyss.” More difficult than it may sound, he clarified, “You’ve go to have something going on to pull that off and he had something going on.”
Still, any mention of Newman requires recognition of what he did off screen. It’s not about the money raised from salad dressing, he said, “It’s the way he spent it.”
With nine Newman camps around the world, he recommended that people visit the “Hole in the Wall Camp” for children with life-threatening diseases in
In Easton, CT. Baldwin’s last visit there, he hoped he would see his friend at the annual gala, but the 83 year old actor proved too sick to attend. Missing Newman’s presence, friends did their best to give the philanthropist a last connection to his legacy.
Fellow actors stood in imitation of other famous performers and video taped mocked up screen tests of Newman’s most memorable roles. “It seeez heerre-uh,” said
Baldwin doing his best Pacino, “I feel like a cat on a hot tin roof.” If the audience’s reaction was any indication, Newman was probably left felling as though his legacy was safe in the hands of friends willing to carry it.
Unfortunately, preserving the state of film and acting isn’t going to be so easy. The rise of multimedia conglomeration, for him, signifies something that shows a clear decline in the product, beginning around 1980.
Studios used to protect their stars. Today, you could be filming at a studio like
, and down the hall at Entertainment Tonight, who is probably owned by the same company, they’re trying to “out” you from the closet. “It’s a weird dynamic,” he said in pursuit of profits at the expense of the star. Paramount
He also lamented the feature role actors must play in the promotion of films. “They run the flag up the pole with ‘Bob’s’ name,” he said, “and if it fails, the actor goes down with it.”
Of course, an Alec Baldwin appearance means politics, and politics that leans left. Instead, he raised a disturbing trend that doesn’t swing toward the trunk or the tail. Nullifying voters from the roles far outweighs democratic traditions to increase turnout. In swing states like
, both parties have a thousand lawyers, spending millions of dollars, he said, in preparing for a “litigation bloodbath.” Ohio
Not taking asides again, he took criticism from his ilk when he appeared with Sara Palin on SNL. Brushing aside such a sentiment, he told them he was appearing with the Republican candidate for Vice President not David Duke.
Describing her as very gracious, he brought back a little blind siding that his conservative leaning brother Steven had conspired with the
governor. Doing a Sara Palin that would have impressed Tina Fey, he conveyed her light hearted jab at him. “Your brother and I have been talking about knocking some sense into you,” he whined, but it’s probably safe to say that they could knock – only his sense will keep him from answering. Alaska