Q&A – January Jones (Betty Francis)


January Jones, who plays Betty Francis (formerly Betty Draper) on Mad Men, spoke with AMCtv.com about her new on-screen husband, staging a slap, and cutting her own hair as a kid.

Q: The scene where Betty slaps Sally is a bit of a shock. Was that difficult to shoot?

A: It was difficult. I mean, Kiernan [Shipka] and I know each other very well now so before we do anything like that I always make sure she’s comfortable. Usually she’s more comfortable than I am with the stuff that I have to do, but we kind of have to find some sort of peace with it… I haven’t seen the episode so I hope it looks as realistic and as shocking as it should be.

Q: What was your reaction when you read the script for this episode?

A: It was shocking, but I have to laugh, because as ugly as it may be on paper and on screen, those things are kind of fun to shoot. Just because it’s something I would never do. It’s going outside the box and experimenting with things you haven’t done before. It’s just the anger coming back, and Betty’s kind of gone up and down with that sort of stuff. I enjoy it.

Q: Did you act out at all when you were Sally’s age?

A: I didn’t really act out until the early teen years…. I had two younger sisters and I was always babysitting, and so I think I was a pretty sweet kid. I was pretty sweet until I wasn’t, a little bit later. But I also didn’t have parents like Betty.

Q: Did you ever give yourself a haircut when you were little?

A: I did, yes. I gave myself and my sisters haircuts all the time. I got in trouble a couple times but I was the one who had to wear it around.

Q: This is the second therapist Betty has seen. Who do you usually confide in when you need to talk?

A: Family. My parents and my sisters… Every once in a while if it’s something work-related, I’ll talk to my co-stars, just because sometimes my family doesn’t understand that aspect of my life

Q: Now that Betty’s divorced, how does that change your time on the set with Jon Hamm?

A: A lot. I have a lot more scenes with Henry and the kids — well, just as much with the kids, I guess. But more Henry than with Don. And when it is with Don it’s usually pretty volatile. It’s a very different show this season.

Q: How is it working with Christopher Stanley as your husband?

A: He’s great. He’s put in a position that fans might not root for just because they like Don and Betty together, even when they weren’t happy. So I think he’s handling it really well.

Q: Mad Men is holding a charity auction on eBay, with props and costumes from the show. If you could get one item the series, what would it be?

A: I’d like the new furniture in the Draper living room. I love the orange couch and some of the black and white chairs.

Q: What about the fainting couch?

A: Oh I wouldn’t [want that]. That thing is so uncomfortable. I’ve had so many awkward scenes with it. It’s uncomfortable to sit on or lay on. It’s hard as a rock.

Q: Finally, congratulations on the Emmy nomination. Have you decided what you’re wearing?

A: I have, yes, but I’m gonna let that be a surprise. I just saw the dress a few months ago when a designer put it out there, and I saw it in a couple magazines and I just fell in love with it. I had a fitting a couple weeks ago and it looks cool.

Click here to read an interview with January Jones from Season 3.

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