Simon Baker stars in CBS’ “The Mentalist” and can be seen in the new film “Margin Call.”
Updated: November 20, 2011 8:37AM
Simon Baker, star of “The Mentalist,” recalls a time when he thought acting wasn’t a career option.
“As a kid growing up in Australia, I was told, ‘That’s not a job. It’s sort of a fantasy.’
“I was told, ‘You have to get a job, Simon, and then you can act all you want at the pub on a Friday night. But you better get a real job, so you can afford to go to the pub.’”
Baker has plenty of beer money these days. As he drives from his Los Angeles home to Warner Brothers, where he shoots the hit CBS series, he says, “I get this little moment each time I drive through the gates of the studio. I think, ‘Holy s---,’ I work here?’ When I see Warner movies and the logo with the aerial shot of the studio comes up, I always point to the screen and tell my wife, ‘There’s my trailer. That’s the stage I shoot on.’
“My wife and I have been in L.A. a long time,” he says. “We constantly say, ‘How did we end up living there?’”
He’s not just starring in but also directing episodes of his series. And he stars opposite Jeremy Irons, Kevin Spacey and Demi Moore in the drama “Margin Call” about the financial collapse.
Baker, 43, plays one of the suits at an investment bank during 24 hours in the early stages of the financial collapse. “The film is about a pretty historic moment that had such a wide-reaching effect on everyone,” he says. “What I thought was interesting is how little most of us know about how financial systems work. I found out it’s such a Pandora’s box. It’s one box inside another of trading and debt and I’ll buy your debt from you.
“Some of it was way over my head,” he says. “The sad part is how greed-based the whole thing is.”
Baker, a father of three, says he doesn’t live too high on the hog. “I’ve always taken a blue-collar approach to things,” he says. “I’m the guy who was told, “You can’t be an actor. Don’t be an idiot.’ So, I really think I’m a lucky bloke.”
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