My Favorite InStyle Moment: In Montauk With Alec Baldwin
Photo caption: InStyle photo crew in 2000, including Angela Matusik, in green coat center, and Alec Baldwin, far right.
During my first stint at InStyle, from 1994 to 2003, I interviewed countless celebrities. I covered film festivals, award shows, and best of all edited the Man of Style column, which allowed me to sit down and probe male icons about serious subjects like grooming and footwear. The one that I love to recall the most was a story we did with Alec Baldwin in July 2000. Today, as the media world is a buzz with the news that he is “retiring from public life” it seems worth officially remembering.
The interview, which took place in Baldwin’s Upper West Side apartment, was the kind every writer hopes for when hitting the record button with a subject. A natural raconteur, Baldwin can speak at ease on just about any subject you toss his way. This Q&A was light fare, and he seemed delighted that someone would care to ask his opinions on things like the art of shaving and how to dress best when in Washington, D.C. But the thing that set Baldwin apart from most actors is that he so clearly embraced the joy of conversation: He wasn’t just interested in himself, he wanted to have a discourse, to make it a two-way street. It’s that same curiosity one can hear when listening to his WNYC podcasts, Here’s The Thing. Baldwin is a man who likes to talk—and he’s very good at it.
For the photo shoot, we met Baldwin a couple of days later in his then-home turf of Montauk, Long Island. At the time he was married to Kim Basinger and he freely gushed over both her and their four-year-old daughter, Ireland. As evident from the way his eyes sparked when talking about Basinger and from the hearty belly laughs that were produced when he spoke on the phone with her, he was a man in love.
A consummate host, Baldwin insisted on showing us around the seaside hamlet, leading our caravan from one location to the next. I sat in the passenger seat of the car he drove, hoping to secure a few more tid-bits on the record before the day was done. For our last and final shot, we were searching for a hidden beach drive—a really hidden beach drive. We must have driven back-and-forth on the same stretch of beach road five times looking for the turn-off. Baldwin, clearly the biggest alpha male present and visibly frustrated, called the location company from his cell phone while driving to ask for directions. “We don’t have time for this,” he said in his gruff papa bear voice, “We’re losing the light.” (It’s a moment I relive every time I’m in the car with my husband and the GPS fails. I always say, “Lets pull over and and look at the map” though we never do… Ladies, you know what I’m talking about.)
Eventually, we found the beach turn-off and scrambled over the dunes to take the photos. The twilight hues were perfect, and of course, those images ended up being the best of the day. When it was all over, Baldwin graciously agreed to pose for a group photo (above), though he so clearly had had enough of us and just wanted to get home to his family.
In his Vulture piece about his desire to retract from public life, Baldwin does not say he wants to stop acting. And for that I am grateful. Perhaps one day he’ll make a movie he needs to promote and will gingerly step back into the public relations game to call attention to something of which he’s proud. If and when that happens, call me, Alec. We’ll have a nice chat.
—Angela Matusik, InStyle.com Executive Editor