by Tami Katzoff (@tvtamijo)
Adam Baldwin has had many iconic film and television roles. The ones he lists as his personal career milestones include Ricky Linderman in “My Bodyguard,” Animal Mother in “Full Metal Jacket,” John Casey on “Chuck,” and Albert Hockenberry in “D.C. Cab” (“I was a little overwhelmed,” Baldwin says of his time playing young Albert. “I was just a kid in a candy store of giant comedian crazy people.”).
And then, of course, there’s “Firefly” and the man they call Jayne: the brawler who loves weapons, women, and the orange hat his mom made. Jayne Cobb, “the mercenary with a heart of gold” and the Hero of Canton, is one of the most beloved characters in the Whedonverse and beyond.
It’s been a decade since “Firefly” and seven years since its big-screen follow-up, “Serenity,” but the series is still sorely missed by its cast. “We knew we were in such good hands with [Joss], that to lose it so quickly while making it so special makes it that much harder,” says Baldwin. “But we really did appreciate it while we had it.”
Baldwin cites Whedon’s knack for crafting fully-formed characters and witty dialogue, as well as his passion and patience on set, as the reasons people are eager to work with him. “No matter if you’re a lead character or a minor player, he really wants it to sing on the screen,” Baldwin says. “And he gives you enough time to make sure that it does.”
In the years since “Firefly” was grounded, Baldwin has continued to work steadily in TV and film. After “Chuck” wrapped its long run, he had guest spots on “Leverage,” “Law & Order: SVU” and “Castle,” where he was happily reunited with Nathan Fillion. Baldwin’s aggressive, unorthodox Detective Ethan Slaughter was a good match for Fillion’s Rick Castle and a definite crowd-pleaser. “I enjoy characters like that where I get to chew the furniture,” he says.
Baldwin capped off 2012 by shooting a pilot for TNT, “The Last Ship,” produced by Michael Bay and based on a novel by William Brinkley. “It’s a post-apocalyptic story of a Navy ship that is sent on a mission, only to return to find that many people have been wiped out by a weaponized virus,” Baldwin explains.
Though his days aboard Serenity are well behind him, Baldwin does pay attention when Whedon mentions the possibility of a return. “I don’t know if he’s just dangling a carrot out there for fun,” Baldwin says. “I mean I know he truly believes that there are so many hurdles that seem insurmountable at this point, but it’s fun to dream.”
And if that dream somehow became a reality and Whedon came calling with a new Serenity story? “I think we would all jump at the chance to redo it,” Baldwin says. Still, he wonders about the greatest challenge a sequel must face: “How would one unkill Wash?”
Previously on The Weekly Whedon:
MTV News producer Tami Katzoff presents The Weekly Whedon, a column exploring all corners of the Whedonverse from "Marvel's The Avengers" to "Buffy" and beyond. Assemble your reactions in the comments section!