Q&A: Rich Sommer (Harry Crane)

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Thanks to everyone who submitted questions to Matthew Weiner and the
Mad Men cast.  We recently sat down with actor Rich Sommer and here’s what he had to say.

What was your favorite scene this season?
I loved so much of what we shot. The day we did the fight between Ken and Pete was a blast. And the election night party was SO much fun to shoot.

But by far, my favorite scene of the season was the scene with Harry and Don discussing the slide projector in the finale. Not only was it my favorite scene of the season, but it may have been my favorite scene of anything I’ve ever been invited to perform. Getting to work one-on-one with Jon was a great experience. He’s such a good actor, and Matt’s writing was so good… It was one of my favorite days of being an actor.

What was it like on the set when you filmed the "underwear" scene?  Was that uncomfortable for you?
Nah. There were plenty of jokes on set, but the truth is that this is a very supportive group of people. I could do a nude scene with these people and be able to feel comfortable. Not that I would recommend a nude scene for me… I’m just sayin’.

I also loved that in the whole scene, these two men are so distracted by the states of their lives that the fact that Harry is in his underwear is never even brought up. That made it easy to take seriously. Those guys are such sad sacks.


Since you are involved in improvisational theater, are you to tempted  to improvise? Are you allowed to?

Frankly, as much as I love to improvise, it hasn’t been difficult to stick to the script on Mad Men. The writing is so precise, and the story so carefully crafted, that I don’t think there’s room — or need — for ad libbing. I could never come up with dialogue as lovely as these writers do, anyway.

How much of your personal experiences are brought in to play when you portray Harry?
Harry and I are both married, and we’re both from the Midwest. I’m from Minnesota and Harry ended up being from Wisconsin, but probably mainly as an excuse for how Midwestern my accent can be.

And Harry’s office friends ended up being my real friends, which is incredibly helpful. Michael (Paul), Aaron (Ken), Vincent (Pete) and I got along well from the get-go, and I think our real-life camaraderie has been instrumental in enhancing our characters’ interaction.

(We’d like to thank Rich for taking the time out to catch up with us and share his experiences on the set.  Be sure to keep your eye on the blog for more interviews with the Mad Men cast and creator Matthew Weiner. To enter our Mad Men contest for the chance to win a DVD set of Season One, click here.)

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