Earth That Was: Interview with Adam Baldwin [June 22, 2014]

Event: Canadian Historical Arms Society’s Touch History Expo
Intrepid Reporter: Andy Dempsey

Andy’s note: A little while ago, I had the honor of interviewing an actual Firefly cast member; Adam Baldwin. He’s done big screen, little screen, and voice work for video games and cartoons, but he will forever be remembered as the man they call Jayne. I was extremely lucky to be allowed to interview him while he was at the Canadian Historical Arms Society 2014 Touch History Expo.

During one of his breaks, he was kind enough to grant me a quick interview. So being the guy I am, naturally I panicked not knowing what to ask. Trying to come up with questions that everybody would find interesting, and also not heard answered on several other occasions. Being as excited as I was, I knew that i wouldn’t be able to write fast enough, let alone remember any of it, he allowed me to tape it so that I can refer back to it. So, here it is, my interview with Adam.

How do you feel about what Browncoats have done for Firefly/ Serenity to keep it alive?

Obviously Browncoats have been a huge part of keeping Firefly in the air. Without their fan base, without their love, adoration for Joss Whedon, the cast and crew, we wouldn’t have had the success or the longevity, and the love is reciprocal. Everyone involved in the show has been amazing. The connections I’ve made, the friends that we’ve made have been really just lifelong and great.

How do you select your roles? You seem to be an actor that is constantly working. Do you personally go over what roles you choose?

I like what Nathan (Fillion) has to say. He says roles choose me more than I choose them these days. If there’s something available and I can go in and win that role, then I’m happy to play it. I try to steer away from roles that are morally reprehensible. If your doing stuff that’s hurting children or women, you try to stay away from that. Just fight against the bad guys. I’ve been blessed to be a part of that and being chosen for roles like that is pretty great.

Nathan has been known for referencing Firefly through Castle. In Chuck, you referred to a car as Shiny. Is that something you strive to do?

We try to sometimes. It’s just a question of whether the producers that are a part of it are on board and if they are fans of the show then they can sign off on it, as it were. If they give us a chance to improv it then we can throw in some of those suggestions.

What does your family think of Firefly? Are they fans of it?

Yeah. When we were first filming and the show was airing, we would rush home from dance class with our kids and watch it all together as a family, so that was very exciting. They would come and visit the set and we would sit around and they would play. The cast members would get to know my kids as they grew up. They still know them.

So, a family atmosphere?

Yeah it really was.

Looking back at your career, growing as an actor, how do you feel about your performance in My Bodyguard?

(Laughs) Green. I was a young kid.

You were fresh out of high school?

Yeah. I really didn’t know what the heck I was doing so much but fortunately we had Tony Bill who was an experienced actor at the helm directing us. A great guy named Don Devlin was the producer. They really took care to make sure the kids were comfortable in their skins and in their characters. I look back on it and see mistakes that I made and some things I wish I’d done differently. It was this sort of raw natural performance from a seventeen year old scared kid in a movie and it turned out great.

You do a lot of voice work for cartoons and such. All the voice work that you have done has been done through DC comics. Do you have a preference between DC and Marvel?

No preference. No.

Andy: You just enjoy doing the voice work?

Yeah, it’s fun. It’s fun to get in there and you can go in, in your pajamas basically and not have to shave. Work with talented voice actors.

strong>Ride to Recovery. Why did you start supporting that particular cause?

The founder, John Wordin, he reached out to me. He’s a former U.S. marine and he asked me if I wanted to go for a ride with some wounded warriors. I said,”Heck yah!” I got to ride across Texas. That first time was a whole week and it’s been a wonderful rehabilitative process for injured soldiers who have come back with lost limbs, PTSD, or traumatic brain injuries. It’s a low impact way of exercising and that’s what soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines need. They’re athletes and they want to stay strong. They want to feel like part of a unit and teamwork, and that’s what you have to do when you’re riding three to four hundred miles across the state. It’s not just a one day ride, it’s a full week of activities, camaraderie, and hard work on a bicycle. A lot of sweat, tears, and remembrances of fallen brothers and sisters. It’s just great and very humbling for me to be a part of that.

Is it something you thought you would get into at one point in your life?

It just seemed like something that was a good fit for me. I was a mountain biker. I still am. I never really experienced riding bicycles along the roadways. I can ride a road bike, but I don’t even own a road bike. I went for a practice ride with John and he said,” Oh yeah, you can make this no problem”. We would do forty to fifty miles a day. Some days were longer than others. It’s interesting how far fifty miles on a bicycle is to the layperson, someone who’s not really experienced riding that far. You’d think, “well, it’s not that far”, but it’s a good five, six hours in the saddle for us slowpokes. You have to be pretty fit to do it well. To see guys do it after having lost limbs, and they don’t quit. Lugs like me me don’t have any excuse.

Being soldiers, they’re trained not to quit aren’t they? It’s something that keeps them going?

Exactly right. For me to see that in person, again humbling and encouraging.

Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to answer some questions for Alberta Browncoats.

You are welcome.

So there you have it. My interview with the talented Adam Baldwin. Until next time, stay shiny.

– Andy

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