Actor Stephen Baldwin recently came to TheBlaze newsroom to discuss his new film, "I'm in Love With a Church Girl," his Christian faith and how he and his brother Alec get along despite their differences.
Actor Stephen Baldwin (Credit: AP)
Baldwin spoke about Hollywood's recent awakening to the realization that there truly is a market for faith-based television shows and movies.
As an actor who has oft-times has to turn down roles that don't mesh well with his faith, Baldwin said he welcomes this development.
"Interestingly enough, in the wake of Mark Burnett's Bible series for History Channel, Hollywood is now kind of surging to finally consider that there’s some money to be made here, which, if you read your Bible, God will let people think that they can make money with it as long as the gospel is preached," he said of Tinseltown's change of heart.
Baldwin, a member of the famed "Baldwin Brothers" clan, which also includes Alec, Danny, and William, has had a fascinating journey through Hollywood. In many ways, his life and career profoundly changed 11 years ago when he left behind a life of partying to become a born-again Christian.
"I’m sort of the same guy, only trying not to be naughty," he told TheBlaze.
How His Faith Impacted His Career
Baldwin said that when he first became a Christian, he was "probably a little too much of a blowtorch." He didn't have a mentor to guide him as a newcomer to the faith and he was led to certain political opinions that he became very vocal about.
While he has no regrets, he said his faith has certainly had an impact on his career.
"When you go on the news, or CNN, and you’re excited, you don’t realize that on the beginning of this [Christian] journey that people are going to have a perception now," he said. "And I didn’t really care, and I don’t care, and I have no regrets. But I didn’t realize."
The actor said that about two or three years after he became a Christian a well-known casting director approached him and said, with tears in her eyes, that she had "gone to bat" for him, but that a certain perception was created as a result of his faith and open views.
"Certainly it has hurt, but I love what God does, because now it’s 10 years later, and here comes this tsunami, potentially, of faith-based opportunity that will be realized in the next three to five years," Baldwin said of the impact his faith has had. "And I just happen to be the guy that is pretty well-positioned in that world to be considered for a lot of those opportunities."
Despite appearing on shows like Donald Trump's "The Apprentice," Baldwin said that he doesn't even have a television in his own home. And he almost never listens to secular music. While he admitted that he and his wife, Kennya, are "pretty hardcore" even in the Christian realm, he's comfortable with his views on entertainment.
"There are certain movies that I believe, in the spiritual realm, you shouldn’t see and certain television content --because I believe the Bible is true," he said. "If you’re not absolutely in a place of discipline where you’re in God’s word and prayer every day -- no excuses -- then you cannot be used in that way as much as you could or should or would."
How Baldwin Found God
Baldwin also shared his path to finding God with TheBlaze -- one that encompasses a paradigm shift or sorts concerning both mind and heart.
"My conversion was one that was so radical in the prophetic, meaning -- my testimony in a snapshot is: 20 years ago I’m living in Tucson with my hot Brazilian wife, and everything’s good, and I’m making a lot of money, and I’m doing the Young Riders TV show--the world was my oyster," he said.
But then something changed. After his first daughter was born, Baldwin said that a cleaning woman came to live with the family from Brazil. This woman told the Baldwins that she took the job because a prophet at her church told her that she would work for the family and that they would become Christians and get involved in ministry.
At first the actor scoffed at the notion, but then something changed.
"God then allowed for a couple of sequences of events that led my wife to the faith, and then in my observing my wife’s walk, it kind of instilled a pretty cerebral curiously, ‘cause we’d already been together ten years," he explained. "Then 9/11 happened and 9/11, for me was [like] ‘Okay, this is super-freaky, and it’s not natural. There’s no way something this insane can happen.’"
It was that event -- one that brought many Americans to their knees -- that led Baldwin to embrace God. But he made it clear that becoming a Christian wasn't something that happened because the terror attack scared him. Instead, he said he was truly touched by God, feeling as though he had found the answers he had been looking for.
"I did the little Stevie-B kind of bungee-jumping, sky-diving psycho version," he quipped of the beginnings of his Christian journey. "And I made a covenant with God where I said -- okay, I’m an adrenaline junky kind of guy -- so I challenged God to give me an experience greater than anything I’d experienced thus far, in a deal -- I brokered a deal with God."
Baldwin told God that if he was willing to reveal himself to the actor in a way that proved he was real that Baldwin would do whatever God asked of him. He said that God kept his end of the deal and the rest is, well, history.
What About Alec?
It's safe to say that the Baldwin brothers, like many other siblings, have their political and theological disagreements. But Baldwin said that this never gets in the way of their relationship.
"I think you cannot discount the power of the DNA," he told TheBlaze. "We’re just sort of four kind of dumb jocks from Long Island that just happened to figure this thing out -- and make a career out of it."
Despite differences, he said that there's no real barriers between himself, Alec or his other brothers. Baldwin said the men don't judge one another and that they are understanding and put family above all else.
On the political front, Baldwin added that he is stepping back from spouting his opinion so that he can focus more on ministry and speaking about God.
Actor Alec Baldwin arrives at the premiere of 'Rise of the Guardians' during the 2012 AFI Fest presented by Audi at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on November 4, 2012 in Hollywood, California. Credit: Getty Images For AFI
As for his new movie, "I'm in Love With a Church Girl," Baldwin said it has a different feel. While many faith-based films are overtly Christian and designed for a church audience, this particular movie, he believes, has crossover ability and the opportunity to compete with the mainstream -- elements he believes good faith films should possess. He called it "very edgy, very entertaining."
The film, which focuses on a drug dealer who inevitably turns away from the industry, is described as "a powerful, inspiring story of a love between a man and a woman, a gift of second chances, and a family at home and in church that never stops praying and believing."