The 30 Rock star invited fellow actor null as his first guest on his WNYC public radio podcast, where the Wall Street star opened up about recovering from cancer and his sadness over his jailed son Cameron, who is serving time for heroin possession and conspiracy to distribute.
So how much did Baldwin get him to open up?
After glossing over topics like what it's like to play a villain (Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross and Douglas in Wall Street) and Douglas' famous father, Kirk Douglas, the two finally got down to the nitty-gritty and talked Douglas' jailed son.
Baldwin addressed his problems, asking Douglas about his relationship with Cameron's "alcoholism and drug addiction."
"I think there's a certain genetic part and I think as far as drug addiction, your peer group plays a huge part in that," Douglas said sadly. "I'm of the belief that [at] 13, 14 years old a parent [has] lost a lot of influence. That triggers and starts it off and then in my older son's case there was no end until he was incarcerated."
"I think secrets play a part in this, in the fact that whether it's a bad marital relationship that you're trying to keep from your children and the tension is there and you're not really kind of up front," he said. "I mean this go-round I find myself being more honest with my 7-year-old daughter than I ever thought I would be. Also just because of what they have access to.
"I mean just watching Glee, which is our family night, I don't know why I'm so surprised, but I'm looking at it and they're watching right or wrong without any ratings on it, two boys kissing each other and all that…a free for all, it's a little different, so in that way not keeping as many secrets."
Baldwin then turned to the topic of Douglas' cancer, saying he honestly never thought he'd turn out looking so good after all he'd been through.
Douglas opened up like never before, talking about the timeline of the disease and how he knew something was terribly wrong, despite doctors just putting him on antibiotics.
"It was right after I finished Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, my throat was a little sore and I thought maybe it was from tension, from the part, where you're swallowing your words and you speak from the back of your throat," he explained. "I had a little bit of a sore gum and so I saw doctors and thought it was some sort of sore and I had antibiotics...and then it went on for another couple of months, your general practitioner then sends you to experts, an ear nose and throat guy and a periodontist and this and that. And another round of antibiotics."
But after traveling that summer, he said the problems still hadn't gone away.
"I was in Canada and I called and I said, ‘Listen, something's going on here, all right? Something is really going on here,'" he said. "Now we're in August and I first went to him in January...half a year.
"I found an ear nose and throat doctor at a Jewish hospital in Montreal, Quebec, and he literally opened my mouth and took a tongue depressor and I'll never forget that moment, when he looked up at me and looked back down and I knew and he said ‘Well I guess we're going to have to take a biopsy.' He said there's a polyp ...on my tongue. Two days later he called me back in and said you've got cancer."
Later that week, Douglas was told at New York's Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center that his cancer was at stage four.
"If I'd been checked back in January, this all [seven weeks of radiation and chemo] could have happened a lot earlier," he said.