ET's Keltie Knight spoke with the actor and director at the Los Angeles premiere of his new movie, Five Feet Apart, at the Fox Bruin Theatre on Thursday, where he opened up about saying goodbye to Jane the Virgin.
"I'm nervous. I'm excited. I'm grateful because if it weren't for Jane the Virgin, I would have never had the opportunity to make this film," Baldoni shared. "I'm just feeling very grateful and blessed for all of these monumental things that are happening right now."
The 35-year-old actor has starred as Rafael Solano in the Gina Rodriguez-starring series since it began in 2014. However, Thursday night was all about his new project, Five Feet Apart, which he directed and produced.
"This movie was inspired by a dear friend of mine, Claire," explained Baldoni, who previously shared her story in a documentary. The film, starring Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson, centers on two teens who meet in a hospital where they're both being treated for cystic fibrosis.
"[Claire] was the first one to tell me that two people with CF, they can't touch, and I just thought, 'What a beautiful obstacle in a love story.' And I'm a hopeless romantic, and I just knew I wanted to make a movie that could inspire us to not give up, to fight for love," he explained.
Baldoni got emotional thinking about how hard he's worked to bring the story to the screen while managing his acting career and home life. He and his wife, Emily, share two young children.
"You're gonna make me start crying," he said. "It's been hard, but I think you go through seasons in life, and this is a season where I'm building. I've been so blessed with an opportunity to use my platform for things like this, and I have to take it."
"I'm looking forward to a season where I'll be able to be a little more present as a father, but at the same time, I'm building a legacy," he continued. "I hope that my children can also look at this one day and not be resentful of the fact that faddy wasn't around, but also look at it and say, 'Well, daddy helped make a small difference in the world.'"
Baldoni's wife certainly couldn't have been more proud as she supported him on the red carpet -- where Sprouse sang the director's praises.
"He's the reason I signed on in the first place," he told ET of Baldoni. "His passion, his knowledge about cystic fibrosis was the most reassuring thing about the process."
"It's easy within a movie like this, within Hollywood in general, to sort of over-romanticize something that can be incendiary or a disease or an illness that real people live with and a real community of people live with," Sprouse noted. "You need to trust the director and you need to trust that we all have the same mission statement and you need to be able to make sure that once you wipe your hands clean of the set, which is really the only thing you can do as an actor, the post-production cycle is gonna honor what you did. I felt full trust in Justin."