As the second series of Dirty Sexy Money starts on Showseries, we speak to William Baldwin about his character Patrick Darling, the power of money, his own political work and growing up with famous brothers. Words Matt Pomroy
With such body of work behind you, what appealed to you about this show?
A regular wage (laughs). OK? Makes sense. I’m 45 years old with three little kids. It’s nice to get out of bed and know what you’re doing for the next year or so. It doesn’t happen often as an actor – unless you’re Brad Pitt. But I had been getting my hands dirty in television for the last couple of years and every year for the last three or four years, I’ve been trying to hitch my wagon to a show. I’d love to be someone who is involved with the creation of the show and have that type of ownership, but to be an actor for hire on a hit show is a lot of fun.
Your brother’s doing comedy with 30 Rock, but do you prefer drama?
Well I love this big ensemble cast and I wanted to either do a drama or a single-camera comedy. I was never too thrilled about doing a straight 30- minute sitcom – I’m not really cut from that cloth, you know, so it didn’t appeal. It didn’t speak to me as much as an actor the way a drama would.
How do you think you’d do in politics?
If I ran for office? I guess I would do very well. You know, I’m tall. I’m thin. I’m good-looking. I’ve got a famous last name. (Laughs) Who knows, maybe my life goes from here to the White House. Hey, if George Bush did it…
Have you ever been tempted?
I studied political science as an undergraduate, and then I worked on Capitol Hill before I was an actor. And I’ve always been involved in non-profit government and politics. I’m on the board of several different organisations. I used to run an organization called The Creative Coalition, which is a bunch of showbusiness people that are involved politically. And it’s always been something that interested me. When I was a child and studied at University of Political Science I always thought I was going to go to law school and then sort of work behind the scenes in government and in policy. But then, my brother got this soap opera, and I was like, ‘Hey, if that schmuck can do it, anybody can.’
Did you fight with your brothers growing up, like your character does in the show?
Oh man yeah. When we were preparing the show and doing the pilot, people were arguing, like, ‘How could that happen? You wouldn’t do that to your own brother.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, yeah? I’ve got the scars to prove it, buddy. And that didn’t happen to me once. That happened to me about 100 times.’
Would you like to work with your brothers?
I would like to. I would have to see if there were opportunities. Without A Trace and CSI had a crossover. Maybe we could have a Dirty Sexy Money and 30 Rock crossover. I’d love to work with them at some point.
How do the Baldwins measure up to the Darlings?
They’re rich and they’re famous and they’re highly dysfunctional, so fairly well. (Laughs). Well, you know, my family’s not rich. My father was a school teacher. He made $20,000 a year and he had six kids, and we grew up very, very lower middle class. We weren’t on welfare, but it’s not like we weren’t left wanting, certainly not with love and affection and attention. My father was, like, our little league coach and my Cub-Scout master and very involved in our lives. But, on the other hand, the house was falling down and the car never ran, and they were foreclosing and they turned off our phone three times a month because we didn’t pay the bill.
So how does your family see you and your brothers now you’ve become famous?
Unfortunately my father passed away 25 years ago, and he was not able to benefit like my other siblings, who aren’t in the business and who needed the help. My sister married her highschool sweetheart and she had six kids. They are grown up and out of the house, and they all had their college education paid for, and they didn’t have that kind of money, so it would have been nice if my dad was around so we could have spoiled him the way we’re able to spoil my sisters. And my mother lives comfortably. She lives with my sister, they share a house. You know, they don’t have a rundown car and they got a nice place and she gets she’s taken care of.
For Time Out magazine – click here for original PDF – William Baldwin