Stephen Baldwin was one of the first people in Hollywood who came out as a Trump supporter, back in July 2015. It was an endorsement that his older brother, Alec Baldwin, later spoofed on “Saturday Night Live”: “I’ve got the cream of the crop,” said Alec, playing Donald Trump. “I’ve got Sarah Palin. I’ve got Chachi. And get this, I’ve got the best Baldwin brother — Stephen Baldwin.”
“You never thought that after those words were spoken, that Trump would actually win,” Stephen says. “But he did. So it turns out Alec’s a bit of a prophet.”
Stephen, who recently produced the faith-based movie “Youth Group,” knows Trump from appearing on “The Celebrity Apprentice.” He talked with Variety about why he’s hopeful for the next four years.
|JAKE CHESSUM for Variety|
Why did you endorse Trump so early?
A good buddy of mine, Don Lemon, called me up. I think he’s a wonderful journalist. Unfortunately, leading up to the election, he kind of had to stick to the script over there at CNN. But I don’t blame him for that. He said, “Hey, come talk about Trump.” I said, “No, no, no.” The first Republican debate was coming up in two weeks. And he goes, “Oh, come on. Since when do you care?” And he schmoozed me, and he talked me into it.
You called Trump’s populist appeal early on.
It was because there were people frustrated by our system, and they might just be crazy enough to vote for this guy, because they’d like to see real change. And I was right. It was a hunch, really — after eight years of an administration that, in my opinion, didn’t try to unify anything. They had their agenda. God bless them. They are gone.
What are you most hopeful about?
I think the thing that needed to happen most, and as quickly as possible, is this breath of fresh air into our economy that we’re already seeing. Healthcare — whatever’s going to happen with that, I have no idea. But I think people are going, “Wait a minute, my premiums went up and maybe with Trump, they’ll go down again.”
Is there a secret group of conservatives in Hollywood?
There are organizations like Friends of Abe and things like that. There’s a larger constituency of Hollywood folks who, I wouldn’t say are hardcore conservatives, but they’re right-leaning. They choose to remain very quiet about it, and understandably so.
|“I think he really wants what’s best for everybody.”|
Do you talk to your brothers about politics?
My answer to “How’s that all going?” is, “No comment.” But watch “Glengarry Glen Ross.” (Alec has a cameo, and he plays a very serious business guy who’s kind of tough and mean.) It’s been quite tense, and I’m prayerful that by Easter things will be a little bit better.
Do you think Alec will continue to impersonate Trump?
I can tell you one thing for sure: Alec Baldwin’s got a good gig for the next four years, even if he just does Trump on “SNL” regarding the tweets. If Trump stops tweeting, it will be a miracle. Imagine the intuitiveness of this guy to realize, “I can use my Twitter to talk directly to the people.” It worked.
How do you think Trump’s presidency will be remembered?
I think he really wants what’s best for everybody. Unfortunately, he’s jammed into a presidency that may be the most difficult four years for any president almost ever to figure out how to bring people together. I say bravo to a lot of Hollywood folks who didn’t support him and didn’t vote for him who are now saying, “We’ve got to give this guy a chance.” That’s the only right, fair thing to do.
You’re making Christian movies now. What has the reception been like?
That’s the other thing that trips me out as far as being a Trump supporter or a Christian. People are like, “Hey you were great in ‘Usual Suspects’ and ‘Bio-Dome,’ but now you’re a Jesus guy, so you suck.” [laughs] I guess when Jesus comes into your heart, your acting skills go right out the window.
We think we’ve really done something unique and different in the faith-based marketplace. “Youth Group” is a Christian comedy by Christians, for Christians that we think will have tremendous potential to cross over into the mainstream.
Any other projects you’re mulling?
Variety, help me talk to the studio that helps control the sequel rights to “Bio-Dome” because Pauly [Shore] and I are ready, and I have the money now with my new company. Let “Bio-Dome” two live! Let “Bio-Dome” two live!