Alec Baldwin is the voice of The Boss Baby, the animated DreamWorks film which deals with a suited and briefcase-carrying baby who joins forces with his 7-year-old brother and works as a secret agent in a secret war between babies and puppies. It’s an entertaining film which the whole family should enjoy.
But these days Alec Baldwin is more known for his brilliant impersonation of US President Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live. I interviewed Baldwin to talk about The Boss Baby but the conversation soon shifted to his Trump impersonation.
When was the moment you realised that you had nailed the Trump impersonation?
It was literally, I am not saying this to be dramatic…this is truly the case, it was like jumping off a cliff. I went to meet Lorne (Michaels), the creator of SNL. He and his writers asked me if I could do it and I said no. The story behind this is kind of nutty. I was booked to do a film Shock and Awe and then something happened with my contract and the deal, where everything wasn’t ready.
Lorne said to me, you are going to be filming in New Orleans, so I’ll send you a private jet and you can fly back every weekend to do SNL.And I thought, this is not my life…flying back and forth. I will not be able to see my wife and kids. So I told Lorne I am not doing this and the next thing I knew is that my contract for the film got screwed up. There was something about the financing and then everything was fine. So when the movie started shooting, since I did not have a signed deal, I walked away from it and did SNL instead.
As for the preparation to play Trump I watched tapes of him and I had seen him, but you never have an impression of someone and I am not an impressionist. You watch people because you admire them and like them Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Tony Bennett.
But this was not the case with Trump. So I watched him for a while. Then when the first show started and the stage manager took me to the stage, I still had no idea of what I was going to do. When I watched Trump, I saw his pouty mouth and I thought to myself, is that it? You don’t have to do him that well, you need to have an approximation vocally and the wig takes care of the physical aspect. The rest of it is in the writing. I just wanted to show a person who is kind of malicious. He’s a person (who) even if he wins, is not happy.
Talking of baby bosses, how would you imagine Donald Trump as a baby?
Well it is quite possible that he was an unhappy child or the opposite could be true and then something went away just like Rosebud in Citizen Kane. There was joy and happiness and everything was complete and then it just ended, it just stopped somewhere. And he wasn’t ready for it to stop so he’s gone on to build Xanadu and chase his dreams all through money and power.
Anyone who becomes the president of America, we focus on them…the amount of meaningful study of the presidency, as their presidency unfolds, and the armchair psychiatry that goes on in the modern world of the presidency.
But Trump is not anything like that. A president sets the tone of the administration and government and hopefully for what all Americans are concerned about and prioritizes those things. The one thing that you would hope for is that the president would help people to relax and focus on their lives and on what they are doing and live their lives, the government has its responsibilities and I know that if I were president, I would want everyone to be free to focus.
As for the preparation to play Trump I watched tapes of him and I had seen him, but you never have an impression of someone and I am not an impressionist
Trump seems to have achieved the opposite of that. Even his own supporters are filled with tension and doubt and he has not provided a lick of security except for the lobbied interests that put him in power. I have never seen anything like this in my entire life.
I have seen presidents who have had a relatively short honeymoon but I never saw a president who has had no honeymoon. The moment he opened his mouth at his inauguration it was if the air went out of a balloon.
I am sad and I’m depressed not only for myself because I live in a world where, everybody assumes that, you are 10 times richer than you are and if I say something about alternative fuels at the expense of fossil fuels, in particular oil and natural gas, people in that industry would go, 'Oh. Yeah. What fuel do you use in your private jets?'
I can tell you that you can count on your hands the number of times I have flown in a private jet. I am perfectly happy to fly on a commercial jet and that doesn’t bother me.
People think that I am a rich white guy and therefore Trump is my man, but what kind of a joy do I have living in a society where I am fine and an increasing number of people are not fine? That doesn’t make me happy. I want Trump to make sure that everybody else is fine. And in that capacity, we certainly picked the wrong guy.
Do you think humour is a form of resistance?
People tell me that all the time and they thank me for the resistance that I am participating in. I don’t see it that way. I don’t do it for that reason. I do it to entertain people. But there were people who came to me after the election and said how do you feel that you are to some degree responsible for Trump winning the election? I thought they were kidding, but they said no, no, you humanised him and took the edge off him and you made him more approachable, but for the most part, people have thanked me for making them laugh.
Watch The Boss Baby trailer below: