Jon Hamm was recently at the Curzon Cinema (Mayfair) talking all things Mad Men at a ticketed BAFTA event. The event, hosted by Jo Whiley, gave the audience a chance to ask questions of their favourite Mad Men star.
Those lucky enough to be at this event heard Hamm’s thoughts on what it’s like playing a ‘handsome womaniser’, his frustrations with the delay between seasons 4 and 5 of the popular show, directing the first episode of season 5, and how this season will explore the relationship/dynamic between Joan and Don.
Thanks to http://www.jon-hamm.org below are snippets of what Hamm shared on the night.
His previous career as an erotic film set-dresser…
“First of all there was no penetration. It was soft-core porn. But essentially I had to move furniture around sweaty naked people. It wasn’t a great job.”
Smoking and drinking like Don
“The stress [of making Mad Men] makes me imbibe more. On the show we drink water and smoke leaves, but it’s still lighting a fire and inhaling smoke, so while it’s non-addictive, I don’t recommend it.”
Why Don never got with Joan
“Who says he hasn’t? The Don-Joan dynamic is something we do explore as the show goes on. They have worked together for a long time they know one another very well and… I’ll leave it at that.”
How the cast have fun on set
“There’s a place outside the make-up trailer with AstroTurf, like a garden, where we play dominoes and there’s a new board game every week. We’re all staggeringly competitive. We had a running series of dominos and Vincent Kartheiser is a very good player – so good he wanted to keep score. After half a season, I had 64 wins and 64 losses.”
The delay after the fourth series
“There’s studio people here so I better watch my ass! Part of what happens now in the wonderful world of media consumption that we live in is that everything is monetised. The people that own things have to determine how that money gets split up. That was a discussion that was happening at a level far higher than my pay grade but those deals had to be worked out. It was incredibly frustrating, but it’s part of the business. I wish they had said at the beginning of the show that they would pick up the show for seven years. I would have been very happy – but that’s not how it works.”
Being injured on set
“I’ve been hurt more on this show than anything I’ve done. In the first season a piece of wall fell and hit me on the head, [causing] seven stitches. That’s not funny – I had to go to the hospital! Then I broke my hand in a Korea flashback. There was an explosion and during the rehearsal I’m jumping onto this lovely soft cushion. So I jumped through and instead of landing I caught it, rolled over and heard my hand break. I went over to the director and said “I’m pretty sure I broke my hand, so can we be sure to make this in one [take]?” In the first season where I promote Peggy to copy writer, I have a removable cast – you can actually see it if you watch episode 12 or 13.”
Who he would play if not Don
“Roger Sterling – he gets all the jokes. We’d be doing a read through and I would say to John Slattery, [mimes flipping through a script] ‘Another great joke, another one, another’ and he would say, “You get to make out with her” – pointing at January Jones.”
Directing an episode in the fifth series
“The year I felt ready to do it and confident. Part of it is being confident enough to say “OK, we’ve got [the shot], let’s move on.” How am I as a director? I’m pretty laid back. I’m not a yeller or a screamer. I found it easy to direct people are essentially my friends and characters that I’ve known for years.”
What else we can expect from the new series
“The fourth season was about stripping this guy down, his family, job, everything, while also seeing an uptick in the booze and the philandering. The part that we’re getting to is him trying to repair the relationships he has broken. Don’s marriage [to Betty] did not survive season four, so that’s starting to reign in a little bit…”
Mad Men Season 5 premieres in the US on March 25 and will premiere on Sky Atlantic in Ireland/UK on March 27.