September 2013 - Vanidades
Translation from Spanish:
Simon Baker: Exclusive Interview
The actor spoke with VANIDADES about his family, his work and the character of Patrick Jane in "The Mentalist", which has brought him fame.
Kind, friendly, courteous, knowledgeable, with a spark. It's nice to talk with Simon Baker, who at 43 is one of the most popular figures in American television, a fact that does not seem to have affected his way of treating others. We were introduced in Los Angeles at the launch of Gentlemen Only, the latest male fragrance from Givenchy. He then joined a group of reporters at the cocktail party: unusually he was accompanied by his daughter Stella, the 19-year-old participating in friendly conversations amongst small groups.
The next day we were greeted with warmth for the interview. Like a good host, he asked me: "What do you drink?", then immediately poured a glass of water and we sat and talked like two old friends. I shared with him my surprise about last night and he said casually: "At this point in my life I'm busy because things are going well, and it’s hard to find time to do these things, but there are times when I’m not so busy and I can do them”.
Baker was married in 1998 to Australian actress Rebecca Rigg, after living together for five years. Rebecca put aside her career to devote her time to the family and their home when they moved to Hollywood, to build on the success he had in Australia, which yielded excellent result from 2008 with The Mentalist . Occasionally Rigg still acts, not long ago she appeared with Naomi Watts in the movie Fair Game and also starred in an episode of The Mentalist. Naomi is godmother to Claude, 14, Nicole Kidman is godmother to Harry, the youngest who is 12. It is the Baker family that helps him keep his feet on the ground.
What do you admire most about your wife?
Last night I was telling my daughter that what I find very interesting is that what I most admire about her at age 43 is what I most despaired of when I was 26. She is a strong woman, intelligent, passionate, with controversial opinions, who says what she thinks. The Baker family is held together thanks to Rebecca who is at home all the time, something he appreciates. They are often seen walking, talking animatedly, or having coffee before or after taking their dog Happy for a walk in Santa Monica. Sometimes they are accompanied by the boys, because Stella is now in college, where she studies the arts.
What do you want for your children?
The most important thing for my children is for them to find out what makes them happy. For them to have the confidence in themselves to find that out, which is difficult, they need courage to do it. My daughter feels pressured because she thinks you have to know what to do. I don’t understand this obsession with youth and success in the United States. I cannot imagine having the success that I have now when I was 20 years old ...
What is the price you have paid for fame?
I don't really like to think in those terms. There’s nothing I’ve been stopped from doing, and I think I have opportunities ahead of me. I like to travel, explore, do photography, and I do all that now. But when I'm filming, I work long hours.
How long do you think you can continue?
Being an actor?
No, keeping the character of Patrick Jane fresh.
A couple of seasons more.
Since there are no episodes of The Mentalist filmed between the months of April to July, the couple used this time for a vacation in Australia. Last year the family went to France. He was also able to film ‘I Give It a Year’, a British romantic comedy.
This year I had planned to shoot a personal project, I had an idea I wanted to write.
He is an avid reader whose favourite author is Ernest Hemingway "for the quality of the prose."
What are you reading now?
I'm reading ‘Lost at Sea’ by Jon Ronson, who wrote ‘The Men Who Stare at Goats’, which was in the The New York Times List for several months.
Yes, yes, of course. George Clooney ...
Indeed, George Clooney was in the movie that was based on the book. I really like the way Ronson writes, because he has a sharp wit. But my favourite author is Hemingway.
The concept of a gentleman has changed in the last 20 years, what do you think is the main difference between a man and a gentleman?
The way he behaves.
Why do you prefer being a gentleman?
I’d rather be aware of the needs of others and have a peaceful connection rather than a hostile one, which sometimes only requires opening a door.
Or providing an umbrella ...
There, you have made the connection.
What do you like about Givenchy?
They are comfortable with me, with the way I represent the brand.
What are your primary responsibilities as a father and as a public figure?
As a father, it is to embrace it. As a public figure, it is to be honest with myself.
On a personal level, what irritates you?
Ignorance and people believing they are entitled to everything. I think it’s presumptuous .
What makes you happy?
My children. Being able to see, breathe and hear. It could also be wonderful to be dead, but I don’t know ...
What do you need with you forever?
Nothing. A good disposition.
And Simon Baker has that.