Billy Baldwin is set to hit the small screen as Detective Bennett in the Lifetime original movie The Craigslist Killer. Based on a true story, the movie portrays a handsome Boston University medical student accused of killing a New York masseuse he found through classified ads on the popular website.
The 47-year-old actor opens up about monitoring the time his kids spend online, his three kids Jamison, 10, Vance, 9, and Brooke, 6, and his 20-year relationship with songstress Chynna Phillips.
CBS: In keeping with the theme of The Craigslist Killer and the dangers of being online, are your kids allowed to have a Facebook or Twitter accounts? How do you monitor their time online?
BB: “I keep fairly stringent rules regarding the internet. My 9-year old [Vance] and my 6-year old [Brooke] are not into it. My 10-year old [Jamison] Skypes with her friends, but no Twitter.
It’s funny, because my kids know more about the computer than I do! I’ll think there is something wrong with the computer and I’ll just get my hand batted away and they ‘fix’ whatever is wrong with two clicks. Chynna and I have passwords to the internet that the kids don’t know and they aren’t allowed on the computer before school or after 8:00 at night so there is lots of protection there.”
CBS: How are your kids doing? What are they into?
BB: “Brooke is with me right now and she’s the youngest. She’s really into painting, art and horseback riding. My 9-year old, Vance, is the jock of the family. He’s at a basketball mini-camp over the Christmas holidays but he’s really into chess too.
[At this point in the interview, Billy tells us to hold on as he talks with 6-year old Brooke “She wants a chess game on the computer and she just smacked my hand away because I don’t know how to restart it!”]
Jamison is the oldest and she’s really not into sports, but she’s a tomboy – it’s more in her attitude. She’s into computers and socializing with her friends. She does very well academically. Jamison has studied piano for years and now wants to pick up guitar. I have mixed feelings about it, but she really wants to be in a band. At her school there is an all-boy band called White Moon. They played at a local pub recently – in the afternoons it’s kid friendly. After seeing that ‘gig’ she really is taking the band thing quick seriously.”
CBS: How has fatherhood changed you? What kind of dad are you? Fun, strict, laid back?
BB: “I would say that I was actively engaged. I strive for a balance. I try and keep it light but my dad was a Marine and was definitely a disciplinarian, so I have him and his style of parenting in me too. I try and have boundaries and consequences for behavior, but the hard part is being consistent. My sister Jane says, ‘You can never have too much love or too much discipline.’ ”
CBS: What is the secret to your successful marriage with Chynna Phillips?
BB: “That is a conversation in and of itself and has a longer answer, but I will say first of all we are very lucky. When we met it was chemical in nature and I’m talking about that ‘thing’ that’s more than physical. I think couples that have this have an unfair advantage. Our connection is special and it makes the relationship come very easy and it takes minimal effort to get well.
We’ve been together 20 years now and we are in our 40’s so it’s important not to become complacent. It’s necessary to ask your partner what they need from you and then try to give it to them. It’s important to at least try and that right there shows that you care. The simple fact is that I told her what I need and she gives a sh*t enough to at least make a strong effort! As long as you’re trying that’s all that matters.”
Why were you drawn to this movie?
BB: “I was drawn to the movie because of the subject matter. It’s very provocative because of the horrific and compelling event and because of the medical student piece; it’s unexpected. I found the main character to be deviant and disturbed and yet, was very bright and charming all at the same time. Striking that balance is very challenging. It’s funny, I’m too old to play the killer. Now I’m the cop or the grandpa. That’s the way it goes in Hollywood!”
The Craigslist Killer premieres on Monday, January 3, 2011, at 9:00 pm (ET/PT) on Lifetime Television.