Pin It

John Slattery Remembers Auditioning for Don Draper and Divorcing His Real-Life Wife on ‘Mad Men’

john-slattery-Mad_MenCan you picture Mad Men’s John Slattery as Don Draper instead of Roger Sterling? As he recalled in a recent interview, Slattery originally auditioned for the lead role that eventually went to Jon Hamm.

“I went to the audition and they said, ‘Oh, sorry, we’ve got that guy, you can try for someone else.’ In my arrogance I thought, “‘What? You haven’t got that guy, I’ll show you. You haven’t got that guy because I’m that guy,’” the 49-year-old told Shortlist.  “It was apparent from the beginning how annoyingly good (Hamm) was in that role. I don’t think people appreciate how difficult it is to play something as subtle as he does.”

Slattery, who has won several awards for his role as a womanizing, alcoholic advertising executive on AMC’s hit 60s drama, was also able to succinctly pinpoint the show’s overarching theme, a feat that’s caused writer’s block for many a TV reviewer.

As he explained, it’s all about the pursuit of happiness for the mad men at ad agency Sterling, Cooper, Draper & Pryce.

“They’re all just looking for happiness. I think that’s what it is all about with these characters on Mad Men,” said Slattery. “They want something and they get it — and then they’re disappointed. That’s the show in a nutshell right there.”

What was it like divorcing his on-screen wife, played by Talia Balsam, who is also the real-life Mrs. Slattery? “I was reading the script, lying in bed next to my wife, and neither of us at that point had any idea the divorce was coming,” he remembered. “I read the script, didn’t say a word other than, ‘Goodnight’ — then shut the light off. There was no way I was going to be the man to break the news that she was being written out.”

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

The Cast of ‘Mad Men’ on the Final Season and More
Though the AMC television series Mad Men might not carry the same cultural weight that it did a few years ago (splitting your final season over two years might do that to you), the second half of the show’s final season is expected to be full of powerful performances from its ensemble cast. With the […]
Watch: Ron Perlman on His Father’s Influence on His Early Career
Ron Perlman is a prolific actor, and he has also lent his distinctive voice to a number of projects in film and television — including the new animated film The Book of Life. One of the reasons that Perlman works so hard is not only because he loves being an actor, but because of what […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/cate-blanchett-asks-graduating-s.jpg
Cate Blanchett Asks Graduating Students a Heavy Question: “What the hell can you do with an arts degree?”
“What the hell can you do with an arts degree?” Many actors ask themselves that when they find themselves struggling to make it in Hollywood while saddled with student loans. It was Cate Blanchett who posed that question recently to graduating students at Macquarie University in Sydney where she received an honorary doctorate degree. The […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/matthew-mcconaughey-rallies-his.jpg
Matthew McConaughey Rallies his Alma Mater Football Team to Victory with the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Chant
Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey delivered a different kind of speech two weeks ago when he spoke with the Texas Longhorns football team after their close 20-17 loss to UCLA. The moment was a bit odd, but hilarious at the same time. Coach Charlie Strong was the one who invited the Dallas Buyers Club star to inspire the […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-anna-gunn-reveals-her-awkw.jpg
Watch: Anna Gunn Reveals Her Awkward ‘Breaking Bad’ Audition Details
Though Breaking Bad was obviously a career highpoint for every actor involved, they all must move on to their next projects (except for the few who are involved in the Breaking Bad spinoff, Better Call Saul). This includes Anna Gunn, who portrayed Walter White’s wife Skyler on the award-winning series series. Gunn’s new series, the […]