William Baldwin on His Two New TV Series, Following in Brother Alec’s Acting Footsteps

William Baldwin ditched his plans for law school and a career in politics when he caught a love for acting. With credits in films such as “Flatliners” and “Backdraft,” he now has several TV series in the works. Family drama “Northern Rescue” comes to Netflix and the CBC later this year, along with Amazon Studios’ gritty “Too Old to Die Young,” with Miles Teller.

Does “Northern Rescue” mirror your family in any way?

I went to the CBC and Netflix and told these crazy stories about my childhood with the frickin’ lunatic Baldwin brothers. My wife’s [Chynna Phillips] parents were [members of] the Mamas & the Papas and divorced when she was 2. Her mother [Michelle Phillips] married Dennis Hopper and dated Mick Jagger. And in my house, my father was my Cub Scouts leader and Little League coach. When I told them the contrast of our childhoods and how that came together for us to try to figure out how to raise our kids, they were like, “Sold!” 

Did your family influence you to take up acting?

My brother, Alec, was on his way to law school when he changed his mind and went to NYU and started studying acting and theater. He got on a soap, and we thought that was the coolest thing ever. I finished my political science degree and moved to New York to take my first acting class to see what that would be like. Every time I visited my brother, he’d have people in the business who were some of the most creative people I’d ever met. The thing that really drew me to them was that some of them were so broken. I was curious about acting and drawn to these people, and another part of me would watch my brother. I thought, “If this schmuck can do it, then anybody can.”

What was the best part about working with Nicolas Winding Refn on “Too Old to Die Young”?

He’s kind of a mad scientist. He’s got brilliance in him and a lot of really dangerous, dynamic, unpredictable and exciting projects ahead. It was very wild to work with him. It was never formulaic or by the numbers. You could never predict what was coming or what he was going to say day to day, scene to scene, shot to shot or take to take. I’d love to find a way to work with him again.

What You Didn’t Know About William Baldwin

Age: 55 Birthplace: Amityville, N.Y. Worst Habit: Dangerous tweeting Hidden Talent: Fundraising Favorite Song: “Hold On,” by Wilson Phillips Favorite Comedy: “A Fish Called Wanda” Favorite Sports Team: New York Yankees

Dan Doperalski for Variety

More TV

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    CBS Stations Go Dark on AT&T's DirecTV, U-verse Platforms Amid Contract Battle

    CBS’ 28 O&O stations are going dark for about 6.6 million subscribers of AT&T’s DirecTV and U-verse platforms as the Eye and AT&T battle over a new retransmission consent contract. The blackout affects CBS and CW-affiliated stations in 14 major markets including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Also off the air are the CBS [...]

  • Orlando Bloom Comic Con Immigrant San

    Orlando Bloom Claims San Diego Mayor Ran From Comic-Con Exhibit Featuring Immigrant Characters

    Did an immigration storyline cause Republican San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer to run out of Amazon Prime Video’s Comic-Con activation this week? According to “Carnival Row” star Orlando Bloom, that’s exactly what happened. At Amazon’s “Carnival Row” panel, Bloom told the audience that Faulconer stopped by the Prime Video activation and chose the “Carnival Row” [...]

  • 'Game of Thrones' Cast Calls Final

    'Game of Thrones' Cast Calls Final Season Backlash 'Media-Led Hate Campaign'

    What is life like now after “Game of Thrones?” That’s the question that fans have been asking themselves and that cast members had to answer at the show’s final Comic-Con panel. But first, Conleth Hill, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and several others cleared the air and addressed the perceived negative response to the final season. “I don’t [...]

  • SDCC Roundup: AMC Drops 'The Walking

    SDCC TV News Roundup: AMC Releases 'The Walking Dead' Season 10 Trailer (Watch)

    San Diego Comic-Con has become a hotbed of entertainment news in recent years, especially for the television industry. In today’s SDCC TV news roundup, AMC dropped a trailer for the 10th season of “The Walking Dead” and FX released a first look at “Mayans MC” Season 2. FIRST LOOKS AMC debuted the trailer for Season [...]

  • ARCHER: 1999 -- "Cubert" -- Season

    'Archer' Renewed for Season 11 at FXX

    “Archer” has been picked up for an eleventh season. The announcement was made Friday at San Diego Comic-Con. The news comes less than a week ahead of the Season 10 finale. Season 11 is slated to debut on FXX in 2020. While the show initially focused on the agents and support staff of a covert [...]

  • Carnival Row

    Amazon Debuts New 'Carnival Row' Footage at Comic-Con (Watch)

    San Diego Comic-Con attendees got an extended look at the upcoming Amazon drama “Carnival Row” during the show’s panel at the annual fanfest on Friday. Two new featurettes (see above and below) offer in-depth looks at the backstories of the two main characters — Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevigne) and Rycroft Philostrate (Orlando Bloom). Delevigne plays [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content