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AMCtv.com spoke with John Slattery about his favorite moments from Season 4 and how he convinced Matthew Weiner to let him direct an episode.
Q: Roger is really back to his old ways this season. Does his smoking make you long for the days of his heart attack, when he was more healthy?
A: Remind me when Roger was healthy? There was a brief window where I think he was drinking milk with his Vodka, and I think right after that heart attack he was bumming cigarettes. That lasted for about a week.
Q: Do you have a favorite line so far in Season 4?
A: There were some good lines in the opening scene: "My uncle lost a leg hitching a trailer. He used to ask me to scratch his toes. He didn't have any." That was funny -- it was in a long shot, so I don't know if anyone even caught it.
Q: What about a favorite scene?
A: So far I think the scene in the second episode where Lee Garner, Jr. calls the office and invites himself to the Christmas party. And then I'm yelling at my secretary and she comes in, then Lane Pryce comes in, then Joan comes in and it gets kind of flirty. There's just a whole lot going on in that scene, and it's really well-written.
Q: You directed Episode 4 this season. What was it like being on the other side of the camera?
A: It was an amazing experience in so many ways. The actors get hold of a script and it's already in the 6th or 7th draft, and they start shooting the next day. But all the preparation that goes on elsewhere is incredible: There's location and transportation and scouting and casting and costumes and set building and production meetings and re-writes. That's where all the heavy-lifting goes on, and then the acting is just another part of the process that then gets taken to post-production and editing and sound mixing and color correction. It was educational in that it made me feel less like the center of the process. There's a shared burden that I see.
Q: Now that you have that perspective. Would you ever want to exclusively direct?
A: I think the reason I went into show business in the beginning is because I don't ever want to do solely one thing. You can do a movie, a play, a television show; you can write or direct. I've written a few things and I guess I've always wanted to do this -- I just never found the right situation. So I guess the short answer is no, I don't think I solely want to direct. But I think I'd like to do that in conjunction with other things.
Q: Do you think there's a reason Matt Weiner gave you this particular episode?
A: Not really. I asked if I could shadow one of the directors and watch what it takes from the beginning of the process all the way through post-production. And he said yes and I shadowed Phil Abraham, who was the original director of photography and directed a bunch of episodes. I did that a couple times and in between seasons asked Matt to let me know what I would have to do for him to give me an episode. And he said he'd think about it, and around the time we started he took a leap of faith and gave me one.