Season 7 Premieres
April 13 10/9c
Iconic artist Milton Glaser designed the key art for Mad Men Season 7. In this interview with AMC, he reminisces about hanging out with Bob Dylan, the ad business of the late sixties, and his creative process.
Q: You’re responsible for so many iconic images — the I Love New York logo, Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits album poster, the DC Comics logo. Is there a piece of work you’re most fond of?
A: It’s a lot like having a lot of children — it’s very hard to pick the one that I love the most. But when I’m finished with a job, I’m finished with it. And it just sort of goes into the storage room, and I’m on to the next… Truthfully, I’m more interested in what I’m going to do than what I’ve already done.
Q: Were you a fan of the show before being asked to contribute art?
A: Yes! I watch it all the time. It was an environment that I grew up in. I had a lot of friends in the advertising business, and it was a growth of a particular moment in the advertising world… I used to work for ad agencies frequently — a lot more then than I do now. So I knew the world. And Mad Men is a really wonderful re-evocation of that time.
Q: Tell us about your process. Was it any different for this project?
Bob Odenkirk’s character on Breaking Bad, Saul Goodman, is the kind of guy “who knows a guy who knows a guy.” You know all about Saul — especially if you just watched AMC’s Complete Breaking Bad Marathon at the end of 2013 — and you’re no doubt clamoring for word on Saul’s upcoming spinoff series, Better Call Saul. But the question is: How well do you know Odenkirk, the hard-working comedian behind ABQ’s most unscrupulous attorney? Do you know which TV comedy won Odenkirk his first Emmy? Can you remember what big screen credit he shares with Bryan Cranston? Play the Bob Odenkirk Ultimate Fan Game to find out.
The confrontation with Gretchen and Elliott. Skyler’s bittersweet good-bye. The showdown in Jack’s clubhouse… Breaking Bad‘s Series Finale brought a close to Walter White’s journey in spectacular, jaw-dropping style. And if you’re curious just what went in to making it, check out these 12 pics from the filming of “Felina,” including candid shots of creator Vince Gilligan along with Emmy-winners Bryan Cranston (Walter White), Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman) and Anna Gunn (Skyler White).
All five seasons of Breaking Bad featured unforgettable poster art. In fact, the final season had TWO memorable posters. Is the Season 1 poster with Walt in his underwear your favorite? Or Season 3 which showed Walt and Jesse in haz-mat suits? Revisit all six posters up close with this Breaking Bad Poster Photo Gallery then cast your vote below.Cast your vote now!
The Complete Breaking Bad Marathon begins Fri., Dec. 27 at Noon/11c on AMC. Click here for a complete schedule.
Q: After the events of Season 2, were you worried that Durant might have less of a presence in Season 3?
A: I thought Durant could possibly never be seen again after we shot the end of Season 2. [Laughs]… I think that’s the interesting thing about a good drama show, is that there are many possibilities and things can go in any direction… The Swede certainly looked like he was dead, when he went off that bridge. How do you survive that? So I think it’s good writing. It’s good to see those surprising twists and turns.
Q: How much of Durant’s schemes are you told in advance?
A: This season, I sat down with Mark [Richard] and John [Wirth], and he more or less said to me in broad terms, this is the arc we see for Durant this season, and that it’s about him trying to claw his way back to Hell on Wheels. He starts out in jail and is marginalized from the front lines, but he starts to fight back from Episode 1.
Q: Have you ever been surprised by how Durant manages to get himself out of a bind?
A: Durant is a little bit of a Houdini, all right. [Laughs] He’s very resourceful. That’s one of the things I like about him. He thinks quickly. He thinks on his feet. He can adjust and he can pivot very quickly, and this is a great attribute in business and in the situation that he’s in. I think it’s become a quite amusing and very interesting character trait.
Q: There’s a scene in Episode 308 where Cullen gives Durant a straight razor shave. What was it like to shoot that?
Q: For a bit last season it looked like Psalms might not make it. What did you think when you found out that you’d be promoted to series regular for Season 3?
A: Like all actors, it’s great to have the upgrade from recurring to regular… I was looking forward to some meatier moments for Psalms.
Q: Cholera hits Hell on Wheels this season. Were you worried for Psalms?
A: No. At this point, with them investing in me being a regular, I hope the pendulum is no longer swinging over my head, you know what I mean? I knew that there would be some dangers that come, whether it be the Mormons, the natives, or disease… I just knew that it was another one of the hardships that the characters have to endure.
Q: What have you learned from the show as an actor?
A: James Dean said that the best acting class is in front of the camera, and I think anyone, whether they be a trained actor such as myself or a novice, can only get better by performing in front of the camera… [Director of Photography] Marvin Rush does a great job of bringing certain things to our attention. For example in Episode 305, there was some sunlight that was taking place… and he was letting me know that when I lean forward at certain points, it would highlight my eyes or my mouth and that I could sort of play with that to create an effect or a moment.
Q: Last season you said there was one late night where you had to do pushups to stay awake. Any nights like that this season?
This Thursday at 10/9c, Ed Sanders and Marcus Hunt attempt to assemble a carnival ride then operate dangerous mining equipment during the two-episode season finale of AMC’s Owner’s Manual. For a sneak peek of what lies ahead for both men, check out these Owner’s Manual photos, then read behind the scenes accounts from Marcus (assembling a carnival ride) and Ed (blasting rock in a quarry).
Want to hear about the Owner’s Manual hosts’ experiences from earlier this season? Check out personal blog posts by both Ed Sanders and Marcus Hunt then test your knowledge of carnivals and rock quarries with the Owner’s Manual Ultimate Fan Games.
The Owner’s Manual Season Finale begins at 10/9c on Thu., Sep. 19.
Q: You’ve done quite a bit of acting while standing in a river…
A: It’s sort of like my natural habitat now, wading around in that river. What I always find amusing is — just to regulate our body temperature and protect the actors — we have to wear wetsuits and other sort of water gear. For example, during the Baptism scene last season, I had this flesh-colored unitard underneath all my clothes. It makes it extremely difficult to walk, especially when you’re wearing a corset. [Laughs] I felt like Gumby.
Q: Robin McLeavy said that filming the river scene in Episode 5 this season was difficult for her. How did you get through it?
A: Robin was enormously helpful to me in that scene. She’s a very spiritual person, and that was such a valuable asset just to feel that radiating off her… We couldn’t get in the water to rehearse because of the costumes, and they couldn’t have our dresses getting wet, so we stood on the bank and we talked about it. Just to be in that space, amongst nature — I was glad that that scene didn’t take place in the city or amongst the tents because it added this sort of extraterrestrial aspect to it.
Q: Ruth reveals that she was pregnant with Joseph Black Moon’s baby. Were you surprised?
Q: Mickey’s now running a successful whorehouse and saloon. Are you as good a businessman as your character?
A: [Laughs] I’d like to think I could run it a little bit better. But under the circumstances, Mickey is doing a pretty damn good job.
Q: You’ve actually bartended a lot in real life. Do people recognize you from the show while you’re bartending?
A: Yeah, it’s weird when somebody gives you an iPhone picture of yourself. You’re like, okay, great, so that’s two pints of Guinness and two shots of Jameson and did you guys want to eat?
Q: Is it more fun to bartend in the 1860s or today?
A: They don’t give me any real alcohol or any real customers [on the show]. [Laughs] So I’m going to have to say bartending in 1867 is not something that I’ve actually enjoyed, just because I haven’t actually sold anything. I think that the mark of any good bartender is to actually make a sale and get some tips.
Q: Would you have been a bartender if you’d lived in Hell on Wheels?
A: No. I definitely don’t think I would have. I think I would have been more on the laboring side, just because it’s a steady job. All you’re doing is you show up every day, work 10 or 12 hours a day, and then you get your money… Either that or I would make my way up to Sheriff.
Q: What would Common have to say about that, as the current Chief of Police?
Country music legend Charlie Daniels talks about how he came to write the fiddle tune for Anson Mount’s dance scene in Hell on Wheels Episode 306, “One Less Mule.”
Q: Anson Mount asked you to write a song for Hell on Wheels via Twitter. How exactly did that play out?
A: I am a big fan of the show. I don’t watch a lot of TV. I watch a lot of football and NASCAR but there aren’t a lot of quote-unquote dramatic shows that I have much interest in… This happens to be one of them… Anyway, I saw something from Anson on my Twitter account, and I wrote back to him and said, “You know I really enjoy the show…” And he said, “Would you consider writing a song for our TV show?” And I said, “Well, sure, I’d be glad to, I’d love to give it a shot.”
Q: Does the show speak to your country-western roots?
A: I love blood and guts. I love Western culture. I love the shootouts and the cattle drives. And that particular kind of character that Anson has developed and the way he comes across, as an ex-Confederate soldier who wears his heart on his sleeve and is man enough to back it up… I just admire people who have the guts to stick up for what they believe in. He’s a very strong character on the show. I also like to see him shoot people. [Laughs]
Q: How did you decide on the song for this episode? Did you write it specifically for the show?
A: Yeah, it’s original. When they came up with the scene — I think Anson is dancing — they said, “Can you do something like this?” I said, “Well, of course,” and I wrote a little fiddle tune, and I recorded it with all acoustic instruments in a very loose sort of a way, like I would imagine somebody in a beer joint in a railroad town back in the 1800s. And we recorded it. And I had to come up with a name off the cuff, so I said, “Well, we’ll just call it ‘Hell on Strings.’”
Q: What’s the key to successfully writing a song for television?