(CBS Local)– Simon Baker has been a big name in Hollywood for decades and he’s someone people around the country are very familiar with after becoming a mainstay on CBS with “The Mentalist.” Baker played Patrick Jane for over 150 episodes and has a new movie out called “High Ground.” He’s also starred in movies like “The Devil Wears Prada” and “L.A. Confidential.”:
CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith talked with Baker about his time on “The Mentalist,” filming his movie in an indigenous Australian culture and what it was like when he first got to Hollywood.
“On a show like that, for me it was all about the comradery,” said Baker. “It was that experience of working with a group of people for that much time. You really get to know them and understand how they work. We got to feel a part of something as a collective. I can’t over-articulate how much community means to me. You create this community when you work on a show like that for so long. Every community has a certain culture to it. As a lead actor and producer on that show, you help try to create a really healthy, good environment for people to work in.”
Baker has spent the pandemic in his native country of Australia and that is also where he shot his latest movie “High Ground.” Baker plays an ex-sniper named Travis who teams up with a man named Gutkjuk to track down the most dangerous warrior in the area. The warrior turns out to be his uncle. The actor filmed the movie in extremely hot conditions and that made the experience really organic.
“The locations were super remote and it was difficult to house a crew and get to these places,” said Baker. “It was 113 degrees and it was an incredibly beautiful and powerful experience. We were welcomed into the indigenous community of that area of Australia. The biggest surprise was the film actually worked. So many times you make a film and it is organized chaos and that’s what I love about it.”
The actor says there were massive rainstorms and thunderstorms every afternoon while filming was going on. Baker has come a long way from his early days in Hollywood when he arrived to the United States as a young actor looking to make it in this crazy business.
“I’m in my early 50’s now and I have a different attitude and mindset about things now because I was able to work pretty consistently as a younger actor and provide for my family,” said Baker. “I’m not as hungry for work and I’m a little choosier about the stories I want to be involved in. I remember how much work there was and how many auditions when I first got to Hollywood in the mid 1990s. Now the amount of content is inane. Back then, I was blown away by that.”
“High Ground” is available on demand and digital now.