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Mark Moses plays Duck Phillips, the new guy on the block. In this interview, the actor discusses booze, bonding, and the big leagues for Sterling Cooper in Season 2.
Q: What is Duck’s relationship with alcohol?
A: He has a big battle with booze. At that time, if you didn’t drink, you were looked on as a bit of leper especially on Madison Avenue. Work and Duck’s job defines him as a person so much that he has that to keep him walking the straight and narrow line. One of the things that makes Duck interesting is because he’s not drinking — for years he did that, that was his lifestyle — now that he’s not doing it, he resents the fact that people are taking long lunches and drinking too much. That adds to the complexity of the man.
Q: Why are Duck and Don clashing so much in Season 2?
A: Duck really wants to move Sterling Cooper into the big leagues. He’s been with big ad agencies, like
Y&R [Young & Rubicam], most of his life. Now his mission and what Roger Sterling and Bert Cooper want to do is to bring Sterling Cooper up into the big boys. And he finds oftentimes he’s rubbing Don
the wrong way. The funny thing is that Don Draper brought Duck Phillips into the agency. They come in as friends and then the next time you see them in Season 2, there’s been this animosity.
Q: What do we know about Duck’s personal life?
A: About midway through the second season, we actually get a glimpse into his life. It’s a terrific episode [Episode 6]. Matt [Weiner] wrote it, and I was thrilled to do it and I think it turned out really well. You find
out about Duck and how long he’s been separated from his wife. You meet Duck’s two children, a girl and a boy. And you see the mess that life has turned into because of his issues. And you also meet Chauncey the
dog, an Irish setter.
Q: Do you have a favorite scene from Season 2?
A: There was a great scene with Don Draper [in Episode 6], where he and Don square off and they’re forced into having a conversation that neither one of them wants to have. That was a great scene and it was great working with Jon [Hamm] in that scene. And it was a great scene with Duck. It’s not the Geneva peace talks, but they do come to a workable solution. I think Duck shows Don that, apart from just being a hard-ass, he’s also a human being.