Q&A – Rich Sommer (Harry Crane)

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In this interview, Rich Sommer (Harry Crane on AMC’s Mad Men) discusses partnership at SC&P and his ever-evolving relationship with Don Draper.

Q: Harry’s in talks to become a partner. Congrats! What was your reaction when you found out?

A: Excited. It’s probably not going to change much for me as an actor, but I’ve been rooting for Harry every step of the way and certainly since day one.

Q: You’ve said before you see Harry as a supporting character. Did you hope that aspect of being on the show would change?

A: Not really, no… I know who the show is about and I know Harry’s position in it and I’m very happy with Harry’s position in it. If Harry Crane suddenly kicked everyone out and it suddenly became the Harry Crane Agency, it still would be a show about Don Draper. [Laughs]

Q: What do you think the Harry Crane Agency would look like?

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Q&A – Kevin Rahm (Ted Chaough)

madmen-s7-chaough-gallery-325In this interview, Kevin Rahm, who plays Ted Chaough on AMC’s Mad Men, talks about kissing Elisabeth Moss (Peggy Olson) and his worst romantic mishap.

Q: In the span of a season, Ted went through a merger, an affair and a move to the West coast. Do you even try to guess what’s going to happen to Ted at this point?

A: I don’t try to guess at all because there’s no telling what they’re going to do. I did not see the merger coming… It’s funny, Elisabeth Moss knew about it before I did and she said, “When you read that script you’re going to be really happy.” And then she said, “Wait, wait, not the first thing, the second thing,” because the first thing was that I kissed her. She didn’t want me to think I was going to be happy because I got to kiss her. She knew I was going to be really happy about the second thing, the merger.

Q: When did you find out that Ted’s place in Season 7 was secure? What was your reaction?
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Q&A – Ben Feldman (Michael Ginsberg)

madmen-704-ginsberg-325In this interview, Ben Feldman, who plays Michael Ginsberg on AMC’s Mad Men, discusses his character’s mental breakdown and his prediction for the final scene of the series.

Q: Ginsberg seems like one of the only people happy to see Don back in the office… 

A: Yeah, 100%. I think the office was heading in a direction away from creativity and the world that Ginsberg excels in and the kind of world that he came into… It would have been an incredible relief for him to see a piece of that old world show up again. And then almost in the same episode to take that away with a giant scary robot has got to be a scary thing.

Q: The presence of the computer has a really negative effect on Ginsberg. Was that a common reaction in that era?

A: As far as responding to and going crazy because of the machine — there’s only so much research you can do to try to figure out Ginsberg and eventually you have to go, “This guy is not something I can research, he’s sort of his own thing.” … I used to get asked that a lot: “What about this? Was this common? Did you find this while looking at the ‘60s?” No, none of it. Ginsberg’s a lunatic.

Q: What piece of technology today has a comparable effect on people?

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Q&A – Kiernan Shipka (Sally Draper)

madmen-sally-qa-v2-325x200In this interview, Kiernan Shipka, who plays Sally Draper on AMC’s Mad Men, discusses Sally and Don’s changing relationship and the personality trait the two share.

Q: After all these years being one of the only kids on set, what’s it like to shoot scenes with other girls your own age?

A: We had a great time. It was all really fun. I think it’s just a really different dynamic working with girls my own age. It’s totally just a different vibe, especially for my character as well. We see her mostly around adults and her parents, so for Sally too it’s a different scenario.

Q: This season, Sally and Don seem to be learning how to relate better. Are there traits you think they share in common?

A: I definitely think that people are a product of their own environment, and I think that Sally in a lot of ways is like both of her parents. Even if she doesn’t want to be… She’s like her father in certain ways, especially when you see them together. She’s smart, she’s sort of conniving, all those sort of traits.

Q: What’s it been like working even more closely with Jon Hamm?
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Q&A – Harry Hamlin (Jim Cutler)

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Harry Hamlin, who plays Jim Cutler on AMC’s Mad Men, talks about the mischievous side of his character and his favorite Cutler quote.

Q: Pete compares Cutler to Machiavelli. Do you think that’s a fair assessment? 

A: [Speaking as Cutler,] If I’d been there to defend myself, I would have said “no.” I am not Machiavellian in the least. I’m a pragmatist and a good businessman. But Machiavellian? No. He’s very insecure, Pete.

Q: You’re well known for LA Law and Shameless. Are you also getting recognized on the street for Mad Men?

A: I’m getting recognized a lot for Mad Men. Mad Men has a big audience in L.A. I go for a hike almost every day, and I always pass a lot of people, and a lot of them have something to say. If I go on a Monday, they always want to talk about the episode on the night before. Mainly people want to know, “Why don’t I smile more on the show?” And I say, “Well, Cutler’s not a smiley guy.”

Q: Is that something you had ever thought about before, your character’s lack of smiles?

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Q&A – Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell)

madmen-702-pete-325Vincent Kartheiser, who plays Pete Campbell on AMC’s Mad Men, talks about Pete’s dream office and the difficulties of modern-day communication.

Q: Is it hard adjusting to life at the SC&P L.A. office? You must miss working with the other actors.

A: It’s mostly hard because I’m kind of a weird duck, and I’ve gotten used to everyone realizing that I’m a weird duck and accepting my weirdness. And now there’s all these new people who I forget that they don’t know that I’m weird.

Q: You live in L.A. Got any advice for Pete on acclimating to the city?

A: Stay off the 405, take Fountain, and don’t believe the hype.

Q: That sounds like that Saturday Night Live sketch, “The Californians,” that jokes about which highways to take in L.A.  

A: [Laughs] I love “The Californians!” “I’m just going to leave here and hop on the 101 and exit on Western.” I love that. It’s amazing, amazing.

Q: There are some communication problems between the L.A. and New York office due to ’60s technology. Have things gotten any better since then?

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Q&A – January Jones (Betty Francis)

madmen-s7-betty-gallery-325January Jones, who plays Betty Francis on AMC’s Mad Men, talks about Betty’s secrets and her favorite line she’s ever said on the show.

Q: Matthew Weiner told us that your audition for Mad Men was one of the top five he’s seen in his life. What do you remember about it?

A: I auditioned twice. The first time I came in for Peggy. And the second time I came in for a character that he just sort of wrote overnight, which is Betty… But he told me, “There’s this little scene at the end of the pilot, but I’m not sure what’s going to happen with the character if we get picked up.” But he wrote these two amazing, beautiful scenes within two days that ended up being in the show… I just remember thinking that if nothing ever happened with the show, that I was just happy to be able to do those scenes.

Q: How invested are you in what happens to Betty over this final season?

A: I try not to think about what’s going to happen. You can’t help it a little bit, but I try not to presume to know where her character is going to go because whenever I do that, Matthew Weiner takes it one step beyond my hopes and dreams… Betty has grown a lot, as all the characters have. She’s a lot more self-possessed and confident, and her marriage with Henry has allowed her to be a lot more “her”… But as an actor, I love playing those impulsive sort of scenes where she’s all bottled up, just because they’re interesting compared to when things are happy and sunny and bright and perfect.

Q: What’s been your favorite Betty phase?

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Q&A – Jessica Paré (Megan Draper)

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Jessica Paré, who plays Megan Draper on AMC’s Mad Men, discusses Megan’s evolving costumes and doles out some acting biz advice for her character.

Q: Megan and Don have gone through a lot together. Would you have stuck by your man if you were in her position?

A: That’s kind of a personal question. [Laughs] But yeah, I think so. My take on Megan is that she really has this perspective on Don that no one else has. She sees him as this really fun, sexy, really loving, really caring man, and nobody thinks of him that way in the office, certainly. Even Betty doesn’t think of him that way… It’s really easy from an audience perspective to call it naïve because we see what he’s doing and we see what’s going on. But we have to remember that she doesn’t see it that way.

Q: Megan has many emotional scenes. Do you prefer playing those sides of your character?

A: I love playing those more emotional moments. Everybody asks me about the love scenes and the kissing, and I know Jon Hamm is very handsome, obviously, but those emotional scenes are far more intimate than any of that physical stuff, which is ultimately choreography with the camera. And that emotion is what most dramatic actors live for. It’s such a privilege.

Q: What’s it like to be directed by one of your co-stars (John Slattery in “A Tale of Two Cities”)?

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Q&A – Christina Hendricks (Joan Harris)

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Christina Hendricks, who plays Joan Harris on AMC’s Mad Men, talks about Bob Benson’s short shorts and the scene that best sums up her character.

Q: Is there a Joan line or scene that you feel like best sums up her character?

A: I think a scene that sums up where Joan is at now is that beautiful tableau in the Season 6 Finale when they all move out of the offices upstairs, and it’s all the partners looking out on the horizon. She’s standing there with the big boys in the middle of all of them, and she’s standing where she should be.

Q: Once, Joan might have been seen as a traditionalist, but she’s used some highly nontraditional methods to advance her career. Are you still surprised by any decisions the character makes?

A: Not really, and I’d been given advance warning about the [Jaguar] storyline about two years before, so I wasn’t surprised. I’m not really surprised when anyone does anything. It takes a lot to shock me. [Laughs] To me, it’s very human and very real to make difficult choices.

Q: Whose story line besides your own are you most looking forward to knowing the resolution of?

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Q&A – John Slattery (Roger Sterling)

madmen-702-roger-325John Slattery, who plays Roger Sterling on AMC’s Mad Men, talks about the trick to juggling on-camera and his theory on what the show is all about.

Q: You juggle, Ken tap dances; any other hidden talents lurking within the cast of Mad Men that haven’t made it to the screen?

A: I’m sure [Jon] Hamm has a whole raft of talents. He’s one of those guys that can do anything… Juggling is pretty easy. It looks harder than it is. The hard thing about it is doing it when the camera is turned on and not screwing it up long enough to say the line… Aaron Staton’s tap-dancing, that was really impressive. Tap dancing with the cane and the eye patch. [Laughs] That’s not easy. He was dancing with one leg and one eye.

Q: You directed “A Tale of Two Cities,” the episode at a pool party in the Hollywood hills. What was the most memorable part of directing that episode?

A: It was raining torrentially. It was literally three solid days of rain, so what you see there is actually kind of a miracle… Whenever it would stop raining, we’d run outside the house and shoot whatever we could and made it look like it was a beautiful day in Hollywood. It was actually a really s—-y day in Encino. [Laughs]… There were 50 or 60 extras, and I was acting in it at the same time. It was a lot…

Q: Yet you laugh about it…

A: The whole thing made me laugh. The writing was so funny, from the plane ride out there to Rich Sommer’s character pulling up in the car, was to me just hilarious, and Danny Strong… We also got to use a Steadicam for the first time in the show’s history. We’ve never done that. And we pitched the idea to Matthew Weiner because Don had that whole trippy hash scene where he sees Megan and then they go walking and then he bumps into the soldier and all that.

Q: Roger had a great monologue last season about life being a series of doorways to nowhere. What were your thoughts when you read that scene?

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