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Stephen Baldwin in ''Threesome''

The last of the Baldwin Brothers to get into acting, the baby brother may be the biggest star

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Five p.m. in New York City’s buttoned-up Russian Tea Room is not exactly a happening happy hour, but that’s fine with Stephen Baldwin, an admitted Reformed Wild Man. Ignoring the restaurant’s collection of Slavic vodkas, the actor opts for coffee. Not that this controlled behavior puts a dent in Baldwin’s bad-boy enthusiasm. Describing the libidinous Stuart—his character in the recently released collegiate comedy Threesome—Baldwin gleefully decrees him ”a walking boner,” audibly enough to cause several well-coiffed heads to swivel in his direction.

It’s this uncensored energy that distinguishes 27-year-old Stephen from his three elder brothers. His highly sexed, comic charm has permeated such roles as Lane Frost’s bull-riding best friend in 8 Seconds, a rowdy cavalryman in last year’s Western Posse, and Buffalo Bill Cody on ABC’s The Young Riders, a three-season stint starting in 1989.

Stephen followed Alec, 36, and preceded William (Sliver), 30, and Daniel (TV’s Homicide), 33, into the biz, enrolling in New York’s American Academy of Dramatic Arts after graduating from high school in Massapequa, N.Y. (where he won a state award for his a cappella singing). While being one of such famous brethren brings media scrutiny, Baldwin shrugs it off. ”It’s like a gay guy paying attention to me. I don’t notice it,” he says offhandedly. ”We’re so busy that we don’t have time to stop and be cool.”

”Stephen deals real well with the Baldwin-brother thing,” says Luke Perry, his 8 Seconds costar. ”He doesn’t expect anyone to do him favors. If his name was Perry, like he wished that it was, he’d still be getting the job.”

Baldwin’s personality perfectly suits him to play Threesome‘s Stuart, the party dude who bears a striking resemblance to the Stephen Baldwin of old. His character is the roommate of vixenish Alex (Lara Flynn Boyle) and gay Eddy (Josh Charles), a hormonally charged living situation, to say the least. ”I was never as uninhibited as Stuart, but I was as shocking,” Baldwin says. ”I couldn’t get a girl to do my laundry for sex—I tried, don’t get me wrong.”

”The thing about Stephen is he gets the joke,” says director Andrew Fleming. ”I auditioned other actors, but they would’ve come off like pigs. He does it in this boyish way that is disarming.” This runt-of-the-litter confidence has inspired Stephen’s brothers to nickname him Eddie Murphy. ”Alec calls me Eddie because I’m very pimpy,” says Baldwin. ”You know, kinda like a big shot. I’ve always been pimpy.”

And naughty. ”Of all my brothers, Stephen’s the fun one,” says Jane Baldwin, 28, a physical therapist in New York. ”I’m the honor student of the family, and whenever I got into trouble it was always with him.” The actor’s over-the-top style meant trouble while filming an explicitly rough sex scene with Boyle. ”In the middle of the serious, pelvic-gyrating thrusts, the bed breaks,” explains Baldwin. ”Lara and I kept going, which made everyone laugh so hard that the (cinematographer) fell off the camera.”

Damaged furniture aside, Boyle insists she was in good hands with her costar. ”I’ve always heard crazy stories about Stephen and his younger years,” she says, ”(but) he was always making sure I had a robe immediately.”

Baldwin credits his maturity level to his wife, Kennya, 27, a freelance graphic designer whom he loved-at-first-sight on a Manhattan bus in 1987 and married three years later. When they met, ”I was at the peak of my ‘Bad-boy-I’ll-kill-Sean-Penn’ attitude. I was drinking a lot,” says the actor, whose daughter, Alia, was born 14 months ago. ”As cliche as it seems, I would never be who I am without Kennya. I don’t drink or do any drugs, and I even quit smoking last month. Like The Six Million Dollar Man—we can rebuild him.”

The new, improved Baldwin still has a weakness for sexpot-rebel roles. This fall he’ll appear as ”Jennifer Jason Leigh’s boy-toy” in Mrs. Parker and the Roundtable and as Gabriel Byrne’s bad-seed younger brother in A Simple Twist of Fate, and he’ll soon start work as a sicko bank robber in Fall Time.

These days, Baldwin’s thrill-seeking is limited to bungee jumping, race-car driving, and Starbucks coffee, his ”morning heroin.” His home is in Tucson, Ariz., a city he chose because it’s far from Hollywood. ”Stephen was very responsible about cleaning his act up,” says Perry, a longtime friend. ”He’s a tremendous talent and he didn’t want to blow it and it’s a safer world for it.”