Stephen Baldwin: Get Out of Town

After dinner, we stroll through the Old Town Artisans section of Tucson, a down-at-the-heels district that has recently become thick with street performers. Baldwin ducks into a thrift shop where he buys a hat, then suggests that we stop and have a couple of iced mochas. The place he chooses is a cafe near The University of Arizona. After walking around like he owns the place, maintaining that the Threesome poster taped to a wall near the telephone arrived there of its own accord, and asking a journal-scribbling student what brand of sport sandals he's wearing, Baldwin finally settles down at a table. He keeps his hat on, explaining that he was drawn to the vintage chapeau because it reminds him of the headgear that his homicidal Fall Time character, Leon, would wear. "I reached into my imagination for that role," he says, adding that he and co-star Mickey Rourke both employed an intense Method acting technique. "Some people enter the dark parts of their souls and imagine what it's like to be a murderer. I was dreaming about it."

"What kind of dreams?" I ask.

"Violent dreams," he says. "That was the kind of frame of mind that I had put myself in. I developed some very perverse ideas about what this guy would do."

"Did you interview murderers?"

"I didn't need to. I used my imagination."

"I guess you'd have to," I offer. "Presumably you haven't really experienced that dark of a life."

"Not in this life at least," Baldwin replies, practically begging me to ask the next question.

"Your other lives were darker?"

"I definitely think so," he replies. "I figure that maybe I murdered someone. For me, it's just a matter of how much you're willing to believe your own imagination. The more I'm willing to allow my imagination to run free and the more I'm willing to accept where it will go, the better I can perform."

Our conversation continues in this vein for a while, as Baldwin pontificates about actors' motivation, but eventually I get a word in and ask about his recent turn as the perpetually over-sexed college stud Stuart.

"What did you do to prep for Threesome!"

"Wow," he says, cracking up. "You've stumped me."

"I figured that you masturbated until you reached the brink of orgasm so that you would be completely horny."

"No, man," he replies. "It was just the opposite. I would lie there, completely still. I had to conserve as much energy as I possibly could." With that, Baldwin drains his drink and announces, "Wanna get outta here," forgetting to make it sound like a question.

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