“Mad Men” fans, rejoice! If you’ve been following the Emmy award-winning series, you’d love what we have in store for you. Prepare to swoon as we take you out on a date with none other than actor Jon Hamm himself – the star of the show and the man who plays the much loved yet mysterious Don Draper.
He tells us all he knows about Don’s past, what he really thinks about working with the cast of “Mad Men”, and even lets slip if he’s anything like Don:
We understand that prior to the show, the cast members (actors and actresses) were unknown to the world. So tell us, has “Mad Men” changed your life and your career?
“It certainly has impacted my career, as in, I didn’t really have one before this. It’s been an incredibly positive experience from that aspect. It’s given me so many opportunities to do so many things, and just the exposure and awareness of what I can do. It’s a dream job, that’s the only way I can really describe it. As an actor you so rarely get the opportunity to do something that you really like that also happen to be a tremendous boon to your career. And we love going to work. It’s great to be able to have a job that you know you are going to have in the future and it’s twice as great that the job is something you look forward to doing, and that you can be very proud of it. This is that for me. I am tremendously proud of the work we do. I love going to work. I love working with the people that we work with, some of the most talented people on the planet. And I love that it all started in the best of motives. Nobody was a big star, and nobody was super-famous. We all just kind of came together in this weird studio in Queens and made this show that I don’t think anybody really thought had a chance. It has been an incredible ride.”
Do you understand your character (Don Draper) now more than you did when you first started at the beginning?
“I think I definitely understand him more than when I first started, simply because there is more information out there. Matt had told me Don’s back-story before we shot the pilot. I was fascinated by it. Certainly nothing that I knew when I was auditioning for it and certainly nothing that’s revealed in the pilot, but he told me he had this back-story and the more than has been revealed and when he wife finds out, when Pete finds out, when we find out how he comes to getting a job and what his relationship is with Roger and how it started – there is still a lot of past still to be mined and a lot of story that we still haven’t found out. It’s constantly surprising to me and fun for me to kind of peel back another layer of the onion and see what happens to Don, where he’s been and where he is going.”
So you’re taking it as it comes and discovering more of Don with each episode – just like us! Do you see yourself in Don though? How much can you relate with Don in a personal way?
“I’m not very similar to Don in really any way. But I can I guess relate. My job is to relate to him basically. But I can certainly relate to being in a place in your life where you think: is that it? Is this all? I think that kind of ennui or that kind of dissatisfaction can be a motivating factor in people’s lives. It can also be something that keeps people stuck. I think that Don is constantly wrestling between both of these influences. I’ll leave it at that.”
We’ve seen Don with many women. He’s quite the player, yes? Do you think he could ever be truly happy and do you think he’ll ever truly be monogamous?
“I think both those things are goals. I think in many ways, that’s one of the larger themes of the show – exploring happiness and what it takes to achieve that. I think that’s the central irony of the show is that this is a man who ostensibly works at selling happiness and yet he is pretty dissatisfied with his own lot in life. So I think that’s one of his goals, to be happy, to find out what in his life it will take to achieve happiness, true happiness.”
What do you think about being such a hero for every guy who’d like to live that “Mad Men” life?
“You know, everybody wants to live the life. But only the good parts of it. I don’t think anybody wants to really be Don Draper; it’s not a very happy existence as we’ve seen. They want to maybe look sharp and look cool in a hat and have the right thing to say and all that other stuff. But the dark part is less attractive and that’s a significant part of who Don is. I think that’s what makes the show resonate a little deeper. We try to show both sides of that, not just the fun glamorous cool parts. Matt said from the beginning that every action in our show has a consequence, and we don’t just seem to show the glamorous side of things.”
Well said. Last question. There’s seriously a lot of smoking in “Mad Men”! How many cigarettes do you smoke in a day of work?
“A lot! I think that somebody actually watched the pilot and counted the amount of cigarettes I smoked in the pilot and I think that it was something like 74 or something. Some ridiculous number. But you have to remember too that shooting a scene is not just shooting one take of a scene. It’s four and five set ups and three and for takes on each set up. So every time you see me light a cigarette I’ll have to do it 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 times so you can hear it in my voice, it’s a debilitating endeavor. But it’s the verisimilitude that we are going for. People did smoke, and my father smoked indoors, in the car, in the summertime, with the windows up. It was part of life. It creates a mood. I’ve certainly read things where people are watching the show and they’re like all I want to do is smoke a cigarette and have a drink. And you know, knock yourself out. Just don’t make a habit of it.”
Got it, sir. Promise we won’t. Thank you for taking time to do this, Jon! Meanwhile, don’t forget to catch “Mad Men”, the sexy, stylized and provocative drama that has won countless awards on Sundance Channel (Astro b.yond Channel 438)! The show’s second season airs on 25th October 2012 (Thursday) at 11pm.
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