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Alec Baldwin finds love in ‘To Rome With Love’ as well as offscreen

This film image released by Sony Pictures Classics shows Alec Baldwas John left Jesse Eisenberg as Jack scene from 'To

This film image released by Sony Pictures Classics shows, Alec Baldwin as John, left, and Jesse Eisenberg as Jack in a scene from "To Rome With Love." (AP Photo/Sony Pictures Classics, Philippe Antonello)

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Updated: July 25, 2012 6:25AM

Alec Baldwin is in love.

When that scuffle with a photographer happened last week, he was picking up a license to wed. Ask about his impending nuptials to yoga teacher Hilaria Thomas and he says, “It’s a big journey that I’m going on.”

He’s also in love at the movies. In the Woody Allen film “To Rome with Love” (opening Friday), he plays the romantic conscience of a young man (Jesse Eisenberg) whose girlfriend’s sexy friend (Ellen Page) is about to move in with them … in Rome. In “Rock of Ages” (now showing), Baldwin is the owner of a hot club who finds love when he least expects it.

His roles in two summer films happened when Baldwin least expected it. “The movie business is tricky,” Baldwin says. “I started out when I was in my 30s and now I’m in my 50s. To get back into the movie business is tricky. It’s largely inhabited by young people.”

Allen personally cast Baldwin in “To Rome with Love” and hired him again for a film being shot around San Francisco.

“Woody is someone I worked with in 1991. I had a small part in one of his movies when he was still married to Mia [Farrow],” he says. “I love that Woody is still going and making movies. He still has people who give him the money.

“It’s a thrill for me because there aren’t many actors who make great films. Woody lives on that island by himself. He’s the most prolific creator of great movie moments.

“When he calls and asks you to come, you make the time.”

He says his character in “To Rome” is a bit murky. “It’s hard to tell who I am in the movie. It’s left unsaid,” he said. “Am I Jesse’s conscious?

“I love that Woody didn’t want to explain much. I did know that Woody is obsessed with romantic disasters and near disasters. He loves getting his male leads in movies where their desires tend to create a lot of problems.”

As the club owner in “Rock of Ages,” he belts out tunes from the ’80s.

“You do a musical and you come to make a fool out of yourself,” Baldwin says. “You know you’re going to play a crazy, over-the-top character. I don’t want to do a steady diet of those kinds of movies. They’re very high-pitched. But it’s a musical and you don’t want to let the energy flag. Everyone commits to the crazy pace and crazy intentions.”

The vocal demands gave him pause. “I’m very self-conscious and I know I’m not a singer,” he says with a laugh.

He shares most of his scenes with his second-in-command, played by Russell Brand.

“He’s a very exotic animal,” Baldwin says. “Even visually he’s striking looking and a great guy. I think the two biggest benefits of doing the film were watching Tom Cruise did what he did and working with Russell.”

Baldwin says that he is accepting the fact that “30 Rock” is coming to an end. “We’re going to do 13 episodes,” he says, “and then that’s it.”

How is the mood of the cast?

“Everybody is sad,” he says. “I’m sad. In a way, the show is a big part of all of our lives and a very successful enterprise. People really like the show and we rode out seven years.

“It’s tough to launch a new show. But we did get it off the ground and running, plus we had a lot of critical success although we never did have great ratings.”

He’s nervous about the looming void in his schedule, but “I’m also kind of thrilled wondering where I’m going to be a year from now.”

Big Picture News Inc.

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