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AMCtv.com speaks with John Slattery (Roger Sterling) about the British invasion of Sterling Cooper and Roger's blackface serenade of Jane Sterling.
Q: The season opens with Sterling Cooper's merger with British agency Puttnam, Powell & Lowe. What is it like working with the new cast members?
A: If they're people like Jared Harris and Ryan Cartwright, they can only make the show better. They're terrific actors. It's good to get new blood, actors of that caliber. It's funny, because really the show is about the American dream. If you're Don Draper it doesn't matter who you were born as -- you can make yourself anything you want. It's good to have that juxtaposition with the guys from across the pond.
Q: Roger seems secure in his position of authority. Is this a challenge, as an actor, to play top dog?
A: It is. That's not me at all, the person who's in control, the authority figure. But as you go along, you start to develop. The choices become more readily apparent. There isn't a lot of time in TV to rehearse. You just get used to who the character is.
Q: What was your reaction when you first heard Roger would be in blackface?
A: Matt [Weiner] told me. He'll often describe things he's just written, and I heard him say, "blackface" and "My Old Kentucky Home" and I'm nodding, "Uh huh, sounds great," just keeping up. And you leave and it sinks in: What the hell did he just say? Then you read the script. I texted Jon Hamm: "Would you do this?" It's horribly offensive, obviously, but this is the point. This is where we were. It was so commonplace. This is the message, and Roger's the messenger.
Q: What was it like shooting the scene?
A: You sign on at the beginning, you're not sure where the character goes, but you need to find a way to go at it 100 percent. If it's something that Roger finds funny -- and he does -- you need to get that in there. Also I listened to a lot of Al Jolson.
Q: Roger's character has found love with Jane. What's it like working with Peyton List?
A: It's fun. She's terrific. I guess we're lucky to have her. She's busy. She's in demand. Not too hard on the eyes and a lovely person.
Q: Roger is a vodka and scotch man. Do you have a cocktail of choice?
A: I like a martini. I don't really have a specific choice when it comes to alcohol. I'm not as discerning as Roger.
Q: Sesame Street is planning a Mad Men spoof. Can you see Roger as a muppet?
A: I think it's funny because it's so not a kid's show. I wonder what they'll be counting -- cocktails, cigarettes?
Be sure to also hear from Mrs. Roger Sterling, former and current: