Thursday, August 13, 2009

Q & A with Mad Men's Jon Hamm

"As Don Draper, the central figure in Mad Men, Jon Hamm gives one of the decade’s most iconic performances. Off camera, the actor plays down his matinee idol looks, hiding behind thick stubble, heavy eyeglass frames, and a greasy baseball cap pulled low over his forehead. But he’s a relaxed, easy talker and a man with many interests outside of acting, including mathematics," writes Vanity Fair.

Below is an interview excerpt with Jon Hamm.

Vanity Fair: It was a real revelation to me, seeing you on Saturday Night Live last fall. Only knowing your work as Don Draper, I didn’t realize how outright funny you are. Had you ever done live TV before?

Jon Hamm: No, not on purpose. But I was just thrilled, because I've been watching Saturday Night Live since I can remember—since I was little, little kid. My dad would have these crazy 70s parties. I mean, I was probably—

Vanity Fair: Crazy 70s parties. That means, like, really loud suits or…?

Jon Hamm: I just remember a lot of shag carpeting and a lot of modern furniture and a lot of what was probably illicit or not-so-illicit drug use that was completely over my head as an eight-year-old. But I would just park myself in front of the television, a huge 25-inch television, and watch Saturday Night Live, and all this weirdness was going on around me. So, yeah, so I had a pretty significant history, personal history, with SNL.

Vanity Fair: When did you start acting? Were you pretty young?

Jon Hamm: You know, kind of. My first acting job, so the story goes, was in first grade. I was picked by my teacher to be Winnie the Pooh in our first-grade production of Winnie the Pooh—back when, you know, public school programs still had things like productions of Winnie the Pooh, and music programs and recess and things like that.

Vanity Fair: Are we talking a full-on terrycloth bear suit?

Jon Hamm: My mom made the bear suit. She got a Butterick pattern and sewed it and I had a pillow sort of strapped to me and, you know, ears. There exists to this day a very grainy super-8 image of that that I beg—I hope to God—never gets out. Read full interview

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