Mad Men’s Jon Hamm on Working with Child Actors, John Slattery and the Most Fun Scene He’s Done

Mad Men
just started season 4 and from the looks of it, it’s back in a big way.

Don Draper just keeps getting more interesting (and sometimes, not in a good way) and as played by Jon Hamm, deserves all the props he gets.

Here’s an interview from

Q: What do you think are some of [Don Draper’s] traits that should be learned and adopted? Piper

A: Don makes a pretty good case for ambition and for kind of being adaptive, and I think that those things can be good things when done with good intentions…  I think he really loves his kids — I think that’s important… What makes him so fascinating to a lot of people is the fact that we really want to like him and yet he’s disappointing in so many ways…

Q: Jon, do people ever assume that you are like Don in real life? (ie a hard drinker and smoker AND philanderer). As a result, do women hit on you as a result of Don’s image? Spinny Boo Arbierre

A: Women don’t really hit on me… I don’t really put myself out there in that aspect. There’s a pretty significant line of demarcation between Don Draper and my existence in real life.

Q: How would you react if you hear of someone who has a secret so deep as that of Don? Lucas Olarte

A: I think I would react differently if I was in a relationship with that person than maybe I would if I had only business contact with them or something a little less personal or intimate. I think we saw last season how Betty responded upon finding out this information, which was probably deeper and scarier and weirder than even in her worst nightmare she thought it was going to be. I think it really depends upon how much you invested in believing in this person.

Q: I want to know how you and January Jones approach working with the child actors who play your kids. Kelli Peduzzi

A: Any time you’re working with children it’s significantly different from working with adults. You want to respect the fact that they’re little kids and you don’t want to curse around them and you don’t want to be inappropriate around them. But acting with them you just try to be as real as you can. And take what they give you. Kids can be remarkably raw and real and in the moment and scary good… It’s tricky. The most important thing is to have a respect for the work and if they see you doing it then that’s what they want to do, as well.

Q: Would you prefer to have lived your life in the 1960s or present day? Aliette Sastre

A: I’m a big fan of the Internet, painless dentistry, health care…. I think the trappings of life in Manhattan in the ’60s are very alluring. The one thing I would think the ’60s had over present day is the pace… Life moved a lot slower. It wasn’t a constant chase… You would return phone calls and there was time to send letters and mail and there was an appreciation for that deliberate pace of living that I think is long gone. It is all about immediacy right now, whether it’s Twitter or Facebook or even cell phones and car phones. There is no place on earth that you can’t be found. And that’s a drag.

Q: John Slattery will be directing this season. Would you ever consider directing an episode of Mad Men? — breddgal

A: I would absolutely love to and have been asked, but for me it’s much more difficult simply given the amount of time I’m in the show. Slattery was able to do that episode because he didn’t have a lot of scenes in it. It’s not just the week that you’re directing. You have to go basically a week to do prep, scouting, casting, locations — all of that stuff you have to predetermine. And then you have four or five days afterwards for [post-production]. You have to sit in on the music supervisor’s choices and all that stuff. So it’s obviously easier to do that when you aren’t required to be in every scene and every set-up.

Q: What has been the most fun scene to do? And most difficult? — David Fuller

A: Any scenes that I’m in with Slattery are generally the most fun, but the most difficult are the ones where everything breaks down for Don. Whether it’s his wife telling him she doesn’t love him to having to give up his children to having to explain to his wife that he’s been lying to her this entire time — those are very difficult because they’re very real and you can’t fake it. It’s hard to access that emotion, and those are hard days.

Q: What type of acting role would you like to play that you haven’t had the chance to yet? — Lucinda Mitchell

A: I would love to be in a baseball movie or a cowboy movie.

Q: How BA does it feel to have a Don Draper Barbie doll? — jane

A: [Laughs.] I don’t know if I would use the terms bad-ass and Barbie doll in the same sentence. I don’t know if that works… It’s fascinating to me that these two cultural phenomena have somehow merged. I think that’s really cool.

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