Why Alec Baldwin Nearly Passed on Playing Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live

Why Alec Baldwin Nearly Passed on Playing Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live

Imagining the run-up to the 2016 presidential election without Alec Baldwin’s hilarious impersonation of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live is like picturing the former Apprentice host without his questionable (yet signature) hairstyle, but the Emmy-winning actor has revealed that the iconic impression almost didn’t happen at all.

Writing for Vanity Fair‘s April issue — which also features Baldwin on the cover — the 58-year-old indicates he needed a bit of a push from longtime collaborators Lorne Michaels and Tina Fey to accept the gig, which nearly fell through thanks to a movie role Baldwin almost took instead.

“When Lorne called me and asked, ‘Do you want to do this?,’ I said, ‘No, I don’t want to be Trump on TV!’ Because anytime you do any kind of mimicry, it’s of somebody that you appreciate,” Baldwin, who’s hosted the variety program a record 17 times throughout his career, writes. “I didn’t hate Trump. I just didn’t want to play him. But Tina and Lorne pushed me, so I finally said yes.”

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In a video interview with the publication, during which he calls Trump “the head writer of [SNL], unintentionally,” Baldwin further explains: “I was supposed to do a film. And the people who were doing the film were supposed to escrow money to guarantee that I would get paid. And they didn’t put the money in escrow. And that’s when I hung up and said I’m not going to go do the movie and I’m going to go do the thing with Lorne. And…