Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman isn’t exactly subtle about its themes of death and the passage of time; it opens with a lengthy tracking shot through a nursing home, after all. It’s made all the more emotional when one keeps the ages of its stars — Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci — and director in mind, along with everything they’ve brought to cinema history. And that seems to have been at the forefront of Alec Baldwin’s mind while viewing the film.
Appearing on Howard Stern’s radio show Tuesday, Baldwin (who, incidentally, worked with Scorsese on 2006’s The Departed) spoke about his emotional reaction to The Irishman when he saw it at a film festival.
“I was very emotional. I got a tear in my eye at the end,” Baldwin said. “I watched the film, and I thought, ‘We’re never gonna see these guys do this again. This is it.’
“It made me sad, man. It made me sad,” he continued. “Think of all the moments. Scorsese, in his documentary about American film, says, ‘If you remember the plot of a movie, it’s not a great movie. You remember moments.’ And how many moments do we remember, these guys? You just cry.”
Baldwin also said he called Pesci to compliment the actor on his much-acclaimed performance in the film. “I said, ‘I can’t tell you how beautiful you are in this movie,’” Baldwin recalled. “I said, ‘I hope it brings you everything you could possibly hope for.’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, thanks, Alex.’”
In the interview, which you can watch above, Baldwin also shared the amusing story of how Pacino helped him get his college degree, and performed uncanny impressions of the Godfather star at different ages (which he’s shown off before).