Alec Baldwin may have come on board to voice the children’s movie, Peter Ramsey’s Rise Of The Guardians, but in the act of immersing himself in the character of an intimidating Santa known as North, the Massapequa homeboy obviously wasn’t kidding around.
1. How did you find out the truth about Santa as a kid?
I walked into a room when I was seven or eight, and my sister was wrapping presents with my mother. And I was like, ‘Wait! What?’ And they were like, ‘Shh!’ Then they told me what was going on. And I think the only reason they told me, was the more kids my mother had, the more wrapping they had to do. And there became that line where then I became enlisted as a wrapper of gifts!
2. If you opened up a matryoshka like in the movie, what would you most want to find inside?
I would have to say that obviously Hugh Jackman would be inside! Because he is the greatest actor. In the world! And the greatest character, certainly in this film. Perhaps the world. He’s just, what else could it be! Um, next question!
3. What magic do you believe in?
The magic I believe in, is that I want this movie to make a lot of money! That would be magical to me. No! The cynicism of that aside, I hope it’s a great success. Movies like this, are very creative and are different. So I hope it has the success it deserves. I’ll never forget when I was offered an exorbitant amount of money, a huge amount of money, to voice a character in one of these video games and where I was going to play this contract killer from the mafia who killed a police officer. And I said to them, ‘That’s never happening.’ So when people think that it’s all about money… I think most people have a conscience about it. And I knew that I wanted to do this one, because it’s good for kids. It’s very sweet, and it reinforces the idea of believing in yourself.
4. Why a children’s movie and why play this scary kind of Santa as North?
You know, people always say that you want to do films when you have kids, and that you’re doing it for your own kids. My daughter is 17. And god knows what she’s watching now, it’s kind of frightening! But I think it was when I was shown that these characters were going to be kind of edgier versions. You know, when you see the Santa Claus figure, it’s usually Wilford Brimley as like a rosy-cheeked, saintly man. And without a lot of dimension to it. They don’t cross a line, but these characters have little touches.
5. What place do you feel imagination has in this movie?
For me, the key is to work your way toward a much warmer, kind of humanistic place. And with children’s movies, because I’ve voiced others as well, you do want to make sure you keep it warm. Especially with Santa Claus, there was a chance to make it very strident. But if I played it like that, people would be exhausted 10 minutes into the scene. They wouldn’t be able to take it.
6. Do you think there’s too much preoccupation going on with dreams?
I don’t think that dreams are overemphasized anywhere. I know that my reality just becomes more and more about making everything more simple. And I’m at that stage in life now, where it’s more like when you were a child. My god, I’m a thousand years old now! But when you grow up, the world gets broader. Then you turn 50, and life becomes narrow again! And you’d rather do less things, and do them well.
7. How so?
For 20 years of my life, I was like chain smoking my ambition. And trying to cover as many bases as I could. And for me now, I’d rather just stay home with my wife and two dogs, and watch TV. I’d rather watch a movie than make a movie any day!