Coming of age today is a very different beast than when Alec Baldwin grew up.
When the actor stopped by the EW x NRDC Sundance Film Festival Panel Series on Friday to talk about producing the film Beast Beast, he was quick to point out how the evolution of the 24-hour news cycle has changed everything for youths growing up today.
“[When I was young] you didn’t have the 24-hour news cycle that you have now which the consequences of which is like almost the death of innocence and childhood,” Baldwin said during the panel, moderated by EW editor-in-chief JD Heyman. “Kids grew up, when I was younger, in a world in which all that was bad was something that was served up at a certain time and then it was put away and now kids are growing up in a world where all day long on your phone and on TV and on CNN, it’s global warming and a shooting and the president’s a maniac and the list goes on and on.”
Baldwin said he believes that not being able to get a respite from all the doom and gloom has an impact on the younger generation that’s growing up now, which is what Beast Beast — the feature adaptation of award-winning short film Krista — sets out to explore.
“There’s just a constant baseline, like a drumbeat, of this pain and difficulty that everybody who is young has to grow up with which is very different than the way I grew up,” Baldwin added. “When I grew up it wasn’t like that at all. So what I find that’s interesting is to see a coming of age film — and I think it’s one of the best coming of age films I’ve seen of this generation — during this time in the 24-hour news cycle, in the 24-hour social media cycle, which is a very painful thing to navigate.”
Executive produced by Baldwin and written and directed by Danny Madden, Beast Beast follows three interwoven stories of young teens navigating identity, first love, petty crime, and gun violence in a southern American town. Debuting at Sundance, the film stars Shirley Chen, Will Madden, Jose Angeles, Courtney Dietz, and Daniel Rashid.
The EW x NRDC Sundance Film Festival Panel Series continues at the 2020 Sundance film festival at the NRDC Impact Lounge through Monday (Jan. 27). Other guests include Zazie Beetz, Eva Longoria, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.