Simon Baker Interview
There are an endless number of them at the moment - men from Down Under who are climbing to the top, in Hollywood.
Add Simon Baker's name to the list that already includes Academy Award contenders and box office superstars Russell Crowe, Heath Ledger, Guy Pearce. (Trivia note: Crowe, Pearce and Baker all appeared in "L.A. Confidential.")
Simon Baker, who made a huge name for himself on televsion's drama, "The Guardian," now appears as the only white person, in all all black romantic comedy, "Something New." It's a little more than just a romantic comedy. "It's an interracial love story," laughs Baker, recently, in a suite at the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills. The windows in the suite we are in are open and a cool breeze is blowing the curtains to and fro. Sunlight streams through, and the view is of the corner of Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Blvd. Having to work, sitting in a suite all morning, a beautiful morning, talking to countless interviewers, one at a time, is probably the last thing on Baker's mind but he is professional and all work.
The thirty-six year old, wavy blonde haired, and blue-eyed sexy Tasmanian devil, (yes, he was born in Tasmania), has been around Hollywood for a while but caught a lot of attention, from Hollywood producers and television viewers, alike, for three years as the star of "The Guardian."
Amazingly, in most of his famous roles, week after week, year after year on "The Guardian," included, Baker has pulled off the perfect American accent. But when he is with you, one on one, it is that twisted, Australian tongue that one hears.
"I came to the United States for the first time when I was twenty-two or so," reveals Baker. "I didn't know what I wanted to do. I poked around in theater, movies and TV in Australia, and the next logical step for me was to move to LA and try something new and bigger."
It seems to have worked.
Baker has been married - to the same woman - for over a decade and is raising a family of three children, the oldest, a twelve year old boy.
"We just moved to Australia," he begins to explain. "All of my kids were born here in Los Angeles. And they loved it and I loved it but I want them to get a sense of something new, not just what I saw as a kid growing up but something educational. The littlest one (his youngest son), loved T-Ball but now the three of them, (his kids), are loving cricket. Who would have ever guessed? Kids adapt so easily to new environments and I think giving them the opportunity to see two different worlds, and the United States and Australia really are two different worlds, will make them all the better. They can certainly choose where they want to plant their roots when they are grown up, but until then, Australia is home."
While Baker now calls Australia home, after having lived in the United States for twelve years, he is still in the states often, for work, be it interviews such is the case with his latest movie, "Something New," or to make movies.
"'Something New' was a challenge for me," says Baker, but it was a great experience. "Throughout the world, let alone the United States, interracial romance, especially between black and white, is controversial. But even more so when a black woman, of power is in love with a white man, below her tax bracket." And that is what the story of "Something New" tells.
It would be evil of me to reveal how the movie ends - does Baker's suitor, the ravishing Sanaa Lathan, (you remember her as the ass kicker from "Alien vs. Predator"), get her man?
The supporting cast in "Something New" made it even easier for Baker, the only white person in the movie. "Alfre Woodard, Donald Faison, Blaire Underwood, Taraji Henson..." says Baker. "They all brought something new, no pun intended, to the table."
Look for Baker again on the big screen in June, where he will appear alongside Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway in the big screen adaptation of the runaway comedic, tell-all novel, "The Devil Wears Prada."
"I am going to be in Australia until the publicity for "Prada' starts up," exclaims Baker. "I have nothing on my plate until then."
"Something New" is now in theaters.