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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

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