Admiring Christina Hendricks

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Christina Hendricks and Matthew Weiner Dissect 5 Scenes From ‘The Other Woman’

In Mad Men’s controversial fifth season episode “The Other Woman,” Christina Hendricks’ Joan Harris is offered an indecent proposal: sleep with the head of the Jaguar dealership association and receive a partnership in Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Over the course of the episode, Hendricks’ Joan battles with the decision, ultimately choosing to sell her body for a seat at the table next to the men.

In Part 2 of a two-part deconstruction of “The Other Woman,” series creator Matthew Weiner and Emmy nominee Christina Hendricks dissect five sequences from the Emmy Award-nominated installment. What follows is an edited transcript from that conversation.

Pete Offers Joan an Indecent Proposal

Christina Hendricks: People’s reaction to that is, “Oh, Pete, he’s the worst, he’s the creepiest.” He’s not doing anything worse than what everyone else does in the episode, to be quite honest. He brings up the topic for the first time, but if he didn’t, who knows if someone else wouldn’t have stepped in and done it?

Matthew Weiner: He brings it up in a very clever way, which is like a tabloid version. He’s morally outraged by the suggestion and, by the way, what do you think of it?

Hendricks: Yes, yes, I find that to be utterly amusing. I could watch Vincent [Kartheiser] do that scene over and over again.

Weiner: What you’re seeing is a really great, persuasive, morally complex idea, and we love this slippery slope thing. He brings it up, and he has this smile when he stands up and when she says, “you couldn’t afford it,” because that means something different to a salesman than it means to you and me. To a salesman, it’s a crack in the door. His logic is: we’ve all made mistakes for nothing. Are we honestly supposed to think that Joan has never slept with a client? Don has slept with two that we know of. When the Japanese came in for the pitch, they put her front and center. She is the entry to the office and they show her off in all of her beauty and her power. That’s why I love when she says, “how does that come up?” None of this is new in a weird way.

Of course, the thing that he does that’s really morally reprehensible, that shows how the group dynamic works, is when he calls everybody into his office and brings it up. All of a sudden, it’s an institutionalized thing, where the company itself is going into its pocket to make this act happen, and now you’re in a different realm, and that’s what the story was about to me, too. How does something like that happen?

Hendricks: Matt and I had talked about [this idea] previously.

Weiner: Every time I talked to people from the era, it would always come up. Some woman would tell me something in a moment of confidence, at the very end of the conversation, and I was, like, wow, we’re going to have to do that sometime, and make sure that the stakes are high enough and rig it so it becomes a real choice. So Christina knew that there was a version of Joan doing this.

Hendricks: I didn’t know the consequences or the rewards; however you want to put it. Continue reading “Christina Hendricks and Matthew Weiner Dissect 5 Scenes From ‘The Other Woman’”

Christina Hendricks & Matthew Weiner on ‘The Other Woman,’ Part 1

AMC’s Mad Men has never shied away from uncomfortable or challenging circumstances, but Season 5’s “The Other Woman”—during which Emmy nominee Christina Hendricks’s Joan Harris had sex with a potential client in order to secure a partnership at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce—was instantly controversial, given Joan’s heartbreaking decision and because she is such a beloved character.

Nominated for writing (for co-writers Matthew Weiner and Semi Chellas) and directing (for Phil Abraham) Emmy awards, “The Other Woman” was also the episode submitted by Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, and Hendricks in their respective categories, and rightly so. It’s an installment that is vicious in its condemnation of the treatment of women as objects of beauty to be owned and possessed, a thematic thread that manifests itself in the circumstances surrounding Joan, Peggy (Moss), and Megan (Jessica Paré). From Joan’s decision to sell herself for a shot at power to the pitch that Don makes to Jaguar—where the tagline reads, “At last, something beautiful you can truly own”—the notion of commodity and ownership provides a strong undercurrent in an episode that is riveting and eye-opening.

The Daily Beast spoke to Weiner and Hendricks about “The Other Woman,” and dissected five of the most indelible sequences from the Emmy-nominated installment. What follows is an edited transcript, the first in a two-part interview.

What did you make of the reaction to “The Other Woman”? Did you anticipate it being as polarizing an episode as it was?

Christina Hendricks: Yes, I did think it was going to be. It is a very controversial scenario.

Matthew Weiner: I was surprised. I knew it was a dramatic moment, and I expected it to be treated as drama, because the stakes were so high, and we knew Joan so well. But I also felt on some level, if we hadn’t used the word prostitution in there, it was more about the public nature of what was going on, and also their love for Joan, and the fact that she was put in this position that was so upsetting to people. I was stunned, though, by the suggestion that there were some people questioning about whether she would have actually done this or not. That shocked me. Maybe what they were saying is they were questioning whether they would have done it, but I was hoping, certainly judging on the history of the show and what Joan has done, obviously this is not the first time this has been an issue for her.

Given that, why do you think that people reacted so viscerally to Joan’s decision? Continue reading “Christina Hendricks & Matthew Weiner on ‘The Other Woman,’ Part 1”

Christina Hendricks is one of TVGuide.com’s Picks for Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Mad Men has never won an acting Emmy (0-19). Crazy, right? Hendricks is most well-positioned to end that dubious streak this year. It’d be easy to purely make Joan the office sexpot, but Hendricks has layered the redhead single mom with poise and confidence, and she was at the center of one of the most polarizing twists this season: Joan prostituting herself to secure the Jaguar account and a partnership stake. Regardless of your feelings about that development, we can all agree that Hendricks acted the hell out of that story line.

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Christina Hendricks Reflects on Joan’s Rise and Mad Men’s One Taboo Twosome

There was a time when Mad Men‘s Joan Holloway, played by Christina Hendricks, was but the pneumatic head secretary at Sterling Cooper. Someone to be marveled at for her beauty and occasionally respected for her smarts, and yet ultimately dismissed in keeping with the sexism of the times.

Jump to now and she’s come a long way, baby.

In the wake of a season-ending salvo of episodes that firmly redefined Joan’s role at SCDP and in doing so gave Hendricks winning material, TVLine invited the actress to reflect on her character’s “amazing” arc, consider Mad Men‘s one too-hot-to-handle hook-up and explain why the cast’s lack of Emmy love is perhaps not such a bad thing.

TVLINE | Whose heart broke more – yours, saying goodbye to Jared Harris, or Joan’s, saying goodbye to Lane?
Thankfully I will see Jared in my life, because he’s a wonderful friend. But I do have to say, I cried when I heard the news [about Lane being killed off] for the first time.

TVLINE | Joan and Lane had a bit of a connection.
And Jared is such a wonderful actor and a great person. It’s difficult to know you don’t get to work with someone you enjoy so very, very much. But he and [series creator] Matt [Weiner] certainly had a long discussion about it, and it was for the benefit of the storytelling for the show. It was quite an amazing episode.

TVLINE | You’ve already spoken about getting wind of Joan’s unorthodox track to partnership. But at what point did Matt give you an idea that Joan would have the arc that she would, career-wise? When did you know that she was destined for bigger things?
I could be wrong, but I don’t think it was until I got the script for that episode. We had discussed this scenario before, but at the time I don’t think he told me “…and then she will be made partner.” Continue reading “Christina Hendricks Reflects on Joan’s Rise and Mad Men’s One Taboo Twosome”