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In this interview, January Jones, (Betty Francis on AMC's Mad Men) discusses parenting and her character's capacity for change.
Q: How did the public's reaction to Betty change after her challenges in Season 5?
A: She became much more sympathetic when she got bigger. I think people liked her again, which I find very interesting... When she's, you know, trying to be independent or to better her own life, people have a negative response to it. So, it seems like a very un-modern approach... I find it very confusing at times.
Q: Matthew Weiner says one of the themes of Season 6 is whether or not people can really change. Where do you stand on that?
A: I think it's very difficult to change, and I think that's what makes all these characters so interesting is that everyone can relate to the flaws in each character and the desire to change.
Q: Yet Betty's life is really different now than it was in Season 1. What does that say about her ability to change?
A: Each season I think she's a little bit different, and she really does make an effort to do that. If she can't change herself, she's trying to change her circumstances... I just think she's one of those people where she's never going to be truly satisfied and will kind of have that character flaw where she's always wanting what she doesn't have.
Q: Who do you think has a better chance of lasting happiness, Don or Betty?
In this interview, John Slattery, (Roger Sterling on AMC's Mad Men) compares directing to football, and describes the strangest thing he's eaten at a dinner party.
Q: Roger seems to have reached a turning point. What do you think he's learned about himself?
A: One thing I think he's learned is that it's too soon to give up on life...socially and romantically, and as far as work goes too. He lost his account. It was a big blow to him and...he had to figure out how to get his feet back under him, and then that led to the experience of him taking LSD. And I think that altered his consciousness a little bit.
Q: What was it like to shoot the LSD scenes?
A: We shot the bathtub scene two different times. I think it started out with something Matthew Weiner didn't like about the wallpaper or some part of the set, and he said as long as we're going to reshoot this, we should think about it differently. We decided that it's a different kind of change of consciousness. It isn't like you had too many drinks or you smoked a lot of pot or something. You're actually seemingly lucid. It's just that you're having this experience that's going all over the place.
Q: Fans are still talking about seeing your rear end in last season's finale. Are you surprised by the reaction?
A: I think it was funny storytelling and surprising... My family, nothing really gets them at this point. They're used to me embarrassing them in all kinds of ways.
Q: What's the strangest thing you've ever been offered at a dinner party?
In this interview, Christina Hendricks (Joan Harris on AMC's Mad Men) talks about exploring her character's personal life and a defining moment.
Q: Peggy quit SCDP and Joan's a partner. What do you think they've learned from each other?
A: Both of these women are saying, "I've worked really hard and I deserve this. And I'm going to take it." And I think Joan has learned a lot from watching Peggy and seeing that it's worked for her too.
Q: Did you ever imagine that Joan would become a partner? How does it feel?
A: It was very exciting... But as she should be. As she should be. She's been there a long time, and she's incredibly capable. And I think she knows what's going on there probably more than anyone.
Q: Do you feel like there were clues in Joan's life leading up to the way she handled the Jaguar situation? Did her decision surprise you?
A: There were moments throughout the past seasons where you see her excel at something, and it gets taken away from her, quite simply because she's a woman or that wasn't her position... I think she just reached a point where she wants to take care of her family. She wants to make sure her son is provided for. And she's protecting herself and she knows she deserves it, and sadly that was her only option to get her there... I wasn't surprised.
Q: How have you handled fan reactions to the episode?
A: I love that it's controversial and that people are talking about it. And that it's even an issue is fantastic. But I would say that 99% of the reactions are in support of Joan. I've gotten a lot of, "We're sorry for Joan that she had to do that, but we're happy for her now."
Q: Do you feel like Joan is judged more harshly than the men?
In this interview, Vincent Kartheiser, (Pete Campbell on AMC's Mad Men) discusses what makes him good at fight scenes and the most shocking thing Pete's ever done.
Q: Pete has sideburns! Are those real?
A: Yeah, they're real. I grew them on the off-season just for fun and the show kept them.
Q: You've been shaving your hairline for the role. What was it like going out in public like that?
A: I would just go out in public. It was like nothing... It's not like anyone looks at you differently if you're balding.
Q: John Slattery says, you two get along famously off-screen. What's it like having to play up tension between your characters on camera?
A: Let me just start off by saying he gets along famously with everybody... He's a charming son-of-a-bitch and everybody loves him. I can't resist him, as much as I try to, and what's it like working with him and hating him as a human being, as Pete Campbell? It's actually quite easy, because disliking someone that everyone finds charming and funny...everything that they say just grates on you... It's quite fun actually, getting to listen to him make the room laugh and that hurting me to my core and making me want to just destroy him even more.
Q: What's been the one thing Pete's done that has shocked you the most?
In this interview, Elisabeth Moss, (Peggy Olson on AMC's Mad Men) discusses what advice she'd give her character and the most emotional scene of her career.
Q: What was your reaction when you found out Peggy would be leaving SCDP? Were you scared?
A: My first thing that I said to Matt was, "That's awesome. I love the idea. Am I still on the show?"... And then I really thought it was really brilliant and it all clicked into place for me, like a puzzle... It's planted from the very beginning when Peggy's watching Megan dance "Zou Bisou Bisou" and realizing there's this woman fully embracing her life, and Peggy feels sort of stuck... There are so many hints, but I didn't even catch it.
Q: Matthew Weiner has said Peggy "was thinking of herself for the first time." Have you ever been in a situation like that?
A: I don't think I've ever made the kind of choice in terms of leaving a job, but I have just in terms of leaving certain people on your team and going to work with somebody else. It's hard because you develop relationships and you get close with people as you move up in the business and then you have to make tough business decisions based on what's best for you and your career and your family.
Q: What was it like to film the scene where Peggy tells Don she's leaving?
A: It was possibly the most personally emotional experience I've had shooting a scene in my career... I remember two things: I remember the first take, walking straight out of the office and across the hall into Sterling's office and closing the door, and I kind of couldn't stop crying. And then I remember doing the scene and [Director] Phil Abraham came up to me, and this is the first time in my career that this has ever happened, and he said, "You need to rein it in. You need to not be so teary. You actually have to get a hold of yourself."
Q: When Don kisses your hand, how could you not lose it?
A: Yeah, well one of the takes of that, Phil told Jon to not let go of my hand. And they didn't tell me that he was going to do that. So he takes my hand and I try to pull it away and he wouldn't let it go. And that's kind of what really made me lose it.
Q: What do you think of the idea that success often comes at the expense of personal relationships?
In this interview, Jon Hamm (Don Draper on AMC's Mad Men) discusses the nature of change and his biggest hope for his character this season.
Q: What's the key to bringing new energy and layers to Don Draper after five seasons?
A: My global approach to acting is being true to the character and the character's situation and the character's background and ever-changing circumstance. I think [Series Creator] Matthew Weiner is very wise to have set the show in the time that he's set it in because things are constantly changing anyway, and it's kind of already there in the landscape.
Q: Season 5 ended on a very ambiguous note. What was your reaction when you read the script for that last scene?
A: I love the phrasing of it. It wasn't, "Are you single?" It wasn't, "Are you by yourself?" It's, "Are you alone?" And that can mean so much, honestly. It's a very rich and almost gloriously obscure question. There's a lot of ways to answer that question because there's a lot of ways to interpret that question...
Q: Matthew Weiner says Season 6 is partly about whether people can truly change. What's your take on that?
A: I think that one of the things that we've tried to play up a little this season is what makes Don do what he does. And I think part of it is his house is built on a very flawed and unstable and damaged foundation, and, you know, you've got to fix the foundation before you fix the house or you're going to have the same problems... My hope for Don is that he can somehow identify and fix that foundation, and I think that might be what people respond to the most -- that hope that this person can be redeemed.
Q: Megan has introduced us to new sides of Don. What's it like working with Jessica Pare?
In this interview, Matthew Weiner, the Series Creator and Executive Producer of AMC's Mad Men, discusses Don's fidelity and what Season 6 themes to look out for.
Q: What did you think of fan reaction to the Season 5 finale?
A: I loved it. I think that people sensed that it was a bit of a meditation on Lane's death and Don realizing all of the terrible things that he had done and trying to set things right with his wife, even though it was kind of a sacrifice for him.
Q: What about the scene where Don gets propositioned at the bar?
A: With this season in particular, the immediate response is, "Is Don going to have sex with one of those girls in the bar?"... But what I'm really posing the question of is, "Is he really alone?" And whether the audience realizes or not, that becomes the jumping off point for the next season. And, this will sound really specific, but every season is a new story. I'd go nuts if I was just trying to top it, or make it more event-filled or have another suicide or whatever it is to try and top that... It's a totally new story.
Q: Does audience feedback affect your plan for upcoming seasons?
A: I always go with how I feel and how the writers feel about the show, but the one thing I do learn from the fans is I never intend for any Episode 13 to be a cliffhanger. I always feel like it's the last episode of the series in general... But then once [fans] react to it, I find out things like they...don't know Don is going to marry Megan, even though he proposed to her and said, "I'm getting married." And that kind of gives me a place to start, in the sense that I'm like, "Well, God, maybe that doesn't happen."
Q: What is the most important thing the audience should know before watching the Season 6 premiere?
Noted 1960s graphic artist Brian Sanders illustrated the key art for Mad Men Season 6. In this interview with AMC, he talks about the creative process for the artwork and how Mad Men nearly convinced him to start smoking.
Q: What was your reaction when you were approached for this project?
A: At first I wasn't told what the project was about, but was simply asked whether I was the artist who was responsible for several works carried out in the '60s. When I took responsibility for several of them, I was asked if: 1. I could still work in that manner, 2. Would I be interested in doing so and if so could I do it in secret? 3. Could I show more work of the era? I was able to direct Brad Hochberg of The Refinery Ad Agency to Lief Peng's blogs on my work, by googling "Todays Inspiration Brian Sanders." It may have helped clinch things as it shows work that I had carried out on the set of Stanley Kubrick's 2001. By the time that I was asked to make some experimental illustrations I'd worked out what they were probably about, although imagined that it to be for the show rather than advertising it.
Q: You rose to fame as a 1960s commercial illustrator. Was it surreal to get asked to rewind to an earlier part of your career?
A: It was odd, but not difficult. My recollection of the '60s is very acute as it was when my career took off. I also have a reasonable archive record of work at that time as is shown in Lief Peng's blog. Also my style of drawing beneath the paint surface has not changed a great deal. I have always been a figurative illustrator albeit given to experimentation over the years.
Q: Matthew Weiner has said, "The show is telling the history of advertising, and part of that story is about photography completely eclipsing illustration." How is that reflected in your work?
In this interview, Larisa Oleynik, who plays Cynthia Cosgrove on AMC's Mad Men, reveals her own secret hobby and describes getting recognized as "Mrs. Cosgrove."
Q: You've been on the show since Season 4, but we really saw a lot of you in Season 5. How did you get involved in Mad Men?
A: I'd been in to audition for the show a couple of times for different characters and different guest spots... And when I originally auditioned for Cynthia, I had no idea whose fiancee I was actually playing. So that was a really fun surprise.
Q: What was it like meeting Aaron Staton, your on-screen husband, for the first time?
A: I was incredibly nervous the first day on set, but he automatically made me really comfortable. Our chemistry is great in that it really completely and only 100% exists as our characters. And as soon as they call the scene, I'm like, "So, tell me about the baby." [Laughs] I couldn't ask for a better on-screen husband.
Q: You were a teen star in The Secret Life of Alex Mack in the '90s. How has being cast in Mad Men changed your career?
A: When people recognize me from Mad Men specifically, it's just the coolest feeling... I don't really know if I'm being seen differently, but I know that, just in terms of confidence, it has helped immensely... After a long round of trying to establish myself as an adult actor, booking this job, I was like, "Yes! They don't hire bad actors on Mad Men." It was huge sigh of relief.
Q: What do people say to you when they recognize you from Mad Men?
Q: Your clothing was very glamorous this season, particularly the "Goddess Pantsuit" you wore to the LSD party. Do you have a favorite Jane costume?
A: I don't have a favorite outfit because I feel like Janie Bryant outdoes herself every episode. When I saw the "Goddess Pantsuit" it was in a fitting, and I knew we were getting out of one period of history into another. I was just kind of floored. I said, "Let me put that on, please!"
Q: What was your reaction when you first read the script with the LSD scene?
A: It was so different than any other episode of Mad Men. It was almost like its own little stand-alone movie. Going into it, I didn't know how we were going to shoot it with Roger's hallucinations, but it turned out so amazing.
Q: What's the trick to acting like you're on a psychedelic drug?
A: You just kind of have to guess. They have on paper what you're experiencing, so you're just giving yourself over to actually experiencing it and believing that you're seeing things that aren't there. We had a really good time with it. And lots and lots of laughs for sure.
Q: Jane and Roger had their troubles in Season 5. How do you get in the right mindset to play a couple in their position?