Admiring Christina Hendricks


Q&A from

Christina Hendricks, who plays Joan Harris (née Holloway) on Mad Men, spoke with about delivering a good putdown and what behavior got her into trouble as a kid.

Q: With so many new faces in the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce office, has the on-set vibe been different for Season 4?

A: Just being on a new set has felt different. We’re definitely more on top of each other; it’s a little more chaotic in there. Yeah, it’s weird having new people there — they’re getting used to us and we’re getting used to them. But they’ve been great! It’s been fun.

Q: When Joan confronts Joey and Stan, she delivers a harsh line or two about them and Vietnam. What was it like to deliver such a caustic putdown?

A: It was difficult and fun. It’s always fun to do a really well-written scene and decide how it’s supposed to be done and work with that material. What comes flying out of her mouth is atrocious, so we tried it a bunch of different ways with a bunch of different ideas behind it… And then every time I did it, everyone would go [makes a cowering face]. I’m like, “I know, I’m sorry, it’s terrible.” But that should be the reaction, so that’s good.

Q: Joan is very good at saying things with a look. Is this a skill you use in real life?

A: I do, I get myself in a lot of trouble. When I was a kid I couldn’t hide anything on my face. My dad would be like, “Don’t look at me like that,” and I’d be like what? And my eyes would be rolling in my head and [I’d be] smirking and doing all sorts of things. Yeah, I get in trouble for my expressions sometimes.

Q: Joan’s office is right next to SCDP’s noisy communal workspace. What’s the actual work environment like on the Mad Men set?

A: We’re all family at this point. We’ve been working together for so many years, there are lots of jokes. And when it’s time to roll everyone gets really serious and gets the job done.