It’s no secret no one has any idea what’s going to happen next on Mad Men — and those “scenes from next week” aren’t going to clue you in at all. But the most notoriously tight-lipped cast couldn’t resist sharing a few personal details when Jon Hamm, January Jones, Vincent Kartheiser, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Jared Harris, and creator Matthew Weiner visited James Lipton at the famed Actors Studio (Elisabeth Moss was shooting a movie out of the country).
Below are five of the most tantalizing bits of info we learned in the hour-long broadcast.
1. Some were concerned Jon wasn’t sexy enough to play Don. Weiner said some people (presumably studio execs) didn’t think Hamm was sexy enough for the role, and he had six or seven auditions before he snagged the part. Rebuttal: This photo. Or this. Or this.
2. The series time frame was based around when the Pill became available. Any Mad Men fan remembers Peggy’s uncomfortable doctor visit after her first few days on the job, after Joan advised her to get on the Pill as quickly as possible. Weiner shared that the Pill becoming available was the event that he settled on to kick off the series, and set the exact time frame. Speaking of Joan, the fan-favorite was originally slated to be just a guest-star. Can you picture the show without her pithy observations or her work relationship with Peggy? Can you imagine what Roger would be like without her around?
3. Sally Draper stole the show. Although she wasn’t around for the full chat (see item number 5) Kiernan Shipka made a quick appearance and showed why she’s the most talented preteen ever. After she shared she’d been taking ballet and ballroom dancing classes for the past five years (seriously, when does that girl even sleep?), Lipton asked the 12-year-old to “bust a move” and the ballerina obliged — to audience cheers.
4. Don Draper was like Hamm’s father. Hamm’s alter-ego goes to some dark places, and Hamm shared that he drew on difficult experiences from his own childhood (both parents passed away when he was young). He also discussed that his father “was in many ways Don Draper” and “[He] had a lot of unsettled sadness that exists in Don as well.”
5. No matter how good John Slattery is as Roger, he will never outlive Sex and the City. It cracked me up that during Slattery’s bio portion, the only thing highlighted was his infamous Sex guest spot as Carrie’s politico boyfriend with an interesting fetish. He’ll never live that disturbing role down.
Everyone knows the Inside the Actors Studio clips are extremely edited for broadcast, and the original chat is much longer — especially in group situations like last night. Note to Bravo: Consider putting the entire interview online. I would pay!
Beyond that, we got fun tossaway tidbits like the fact that not only was Harris’s father actor Richard Harris, but his stepfather was Rex Harrison (Professor Henry Higgins from My Fair Lady). Kartheiser came across more goofball than the petulant man-child he plays on the show, and Matthew Weiner jokingly answered Lipton’s question ‘What do you all smoke on the show?’ with ‘Weed.’ (Actual answer: herbal cigarettes.)