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Elisabeth Moss, who plays Peggy Olson on Mad Men, spoke with AMCtv.com about the illusion of nudity and what caused her to laugh in her co-star John Slattery’s face.
Q: Peggy is looking more fashion-forward this season. Did you bribe Janie Bryant to give you flashier outfits?
A: I think that if you watch the show and know the character, it’s the natural progression of where things would go. [Peggy]‘s getting older and she’s getting more fashionable… She’s growing up.
Q: Speaking of clothes, you had to get undressed in front of the camera this season. Were you nervous?
A: No, because it’s all an illusion. We’re actually wearing more clothes than I would be wearing if I wasn’t taking my clothes off….You don’t have to be naked in front of everyone. You’re wearing like two pairs of underwear and a tank top and a bra underneath, and everything is just pulled down to create the illusion that you’re naked.
Q: Peggy’s relationship with Don really comes to the fore in Episode 7. Have you ever had a boss like him?
A: No, in my line of work I kind of have a different boss every job. So I’ve never had a boss that I’ve worked with for many years, except for maybe Matt Weiner, and my relationship with him is all love. We have a great relationship, we’re friends, we’re coworkers, I adore him. I owe him everything….The Peggy-Don relationship is very specific. He never really thanks her when she does a good job, and he totally doesn’t give her any recognition for the Glo Coat campaign.
Q: And she really calls him out on that in Episode 7…
A: Yeah, finally! [laughs]
Q: What was it like to watch Don and Duck drunk fight?
A: It was pretty great, actually. They really went for it. They did not hold back. It was super messy. It was supposed to look super messy… They really gave it their all, and at the same time you could kind of tell that they were enjoying themselves a little bit. They were totally being boys, and that was kind of adorable. But they were really throwing themselves around and really sweating.
Q: John Slattery said you laughed in his face when he was directing. Did that really happen?
A: Well, he’s the one saying that quote, so I can’t get in trouble for that one [laughs]. Cause if he’s going to spread that story around, that’s his own damn fault [laughs]. Yes, I totally did. He walked up to me the first time he tried to give me direction and it was just so strange. Here’s John Slattery, he’s like my friend, and one of the most beautiful actors I’ve ever seen, and I love him but I’m not used to him giving me direction. And so he looked at me and told me what to do and I could not help it. I just could not keep a straight face. And then I got totally into it, and by the way, I will say that he is one of the most extraordinary directors I have ever worked with…. He’s a complete actor’s director. He is fully aware of the arc of your character in the story. And not only in that episode but through the season. And he sort of comes up to you and he starts talking and it’s not even a specific direction sometimes. Sometimes it’s just talking about the character but somehow by the end of it you know exactly what it is you’re supposed to do in the scene. It was a joy working with him — after I got over the initial laughter [laughs].