Mad Men may be a very serious show, but there's still an element of fun among the cast when they're on set. Hollywood.com hopped on a conference call with star John Slattery (Roger Sterling) to get the scoop on how the cast prepared for their long-awaited fifth season, and according to the dapper actor, some shenanigans played a part.
Slattery spoke about getting back into the swing of things when Mad Men production began three months later than usual, in August 2011, and Jon Hamm was taking his turn in the director's chair. "The first scene I was with [Elisabeth] Moss and we were looking at each other and Jon Hamm was directing, and we were thinking of kind of punking him in one way or another," said Slattery.
Unfortunately, Slattery and Moss' whimsical idea was dashed by time constraints—after all, Slattery says it takes a while to "figure out smoking, drinking, and walking and talking at the same time"— but it's the mischievous thought that counts, right? And as playful as he felt on set that day, Slattery fully respects his friend and co-star's work behind the camera. "[Jon's] really good at it...it's like he's been doing it forever," he said.
But what about what's coming up on the beloved series? Slattery teased a bit about the direction of Season Five as well his own character's fate. When we last saw Roger Sterling, he was struggling against the weight of cultural change and buckling under the pressure, but he became a king of Madison Avenue by virtue of his advertising ingenuity, so he's got to have the ability to persevere on some level, right? Slattery wouldn't tip the scales in either direction, but added instead, "That's what the season has a lot to do with is who decides to embrace that change culturally and who doesn't, and it isn't necessarily who you think it is."
Of course, the big question is where Roger falls in that spectrum and Slattery dropped a few hints in discussing his character. "[Roger's] made some rash decisions and then had to live with consequences, and so when we pick it up he's lost his account and his marriage is not exactly paradise ... and he's in a competitive place and has to learn to remain successful ... it's not an easy place to remain indecisive," said Slattery. No matter what happens, Roger is going to have to make a big decision.
But that's as far as the actor would go, insisting that "Ultimately, it's just a really well told story" and that we'll have to wait and see. Still, he did offer one solid nugget of hope for rabid Mad Men fans: "We'll take the audience by surprise," he said. "I wish we could put cameras in people's houses and see their reactions." Though fans need no goading to remain utterly breathless in anticipation of March 25's two-hour Season Five premiere, Slattery's words are certainly hopeful icing on the cake.
For more Mad Men, check out our interviews with Jon Hamm and January Jones! And get a glimpse at the season premiere with the first three stills released by AMC.
March 25 a 17-month hiatus that has shaken the world to its very core will come to an end: Mad Men will return to television with a fifth season. To celebrate the imminent return of AMC's acclaimed series, the starring cast and creator Matt Weiner paid a visit to The Today Show March 19 to discuss the extended absence of their show, and excitement on returning to the air.
In explanation of the lengthy hiatus, star Jon Hamm joked, "We were hiding. We decided to take some time off and solve some issues. Several of us had gender reassignment surgeries." These comments are a lot more tame than John Slattery's recent outburst on the issue.
Although the viewers have suffered through almost a year and a half of no Mad Men, Weiner explained, "We have not been away from this show for as long as the public has. There was a decision made by the network in 2010 that the show would be on in 2012. So, I went back to work in May, and they came back in August. So it was really just three or four months longer than normal." Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economyAs far as the future of Mad Men is concerned, Weiner continued: "We're talking about doing seven seasons. That's the plan for right now. People keep asking me [how I'm going to end the show], so I had better get on it. I have a vague idea of what it is. I think it's interesting that people keep asking about it. I think that they want the tension alleviated that there is a plan, or something. For me, I don't even want to think about it ending yet."
Hamm was asked to speak on his recent heated commentary about reality stars Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton, and reality television in general, which he accused of being a celebration of idiocy. "I don't think [the remarks] were careless. I think they were accurate. It's a part of our culture that I certainly don't identify with. And I don't really understand the appeal of it, other than in a sort of 'car crash' sensibility."
Costar Vincent Kartheiser came to Hamm's side, supporting his colleague's opinion. "I agree. He said it very eloquently. I agree with everything he said. I think our society enjoys to turn on the television and maybe awful, and say 'Well, at least I'm not as terrible as that person.'"
Mad Men returns to AMC this Sunday, March 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT for a special two-hour season premiere. Check out the trailer for the new season here, and these especially classy pics.
Actor Richard Crenna, better known as Sylvester Stallone's former commander in the Rambo movies, died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Reuters reports. Crenna, 76, died of heart failure resulting as a complication of pancreatic cancer. The actor first gained attention as a squeaky-voiced juvenile on radio serials, including A Date with Judy and Burns and Allen, and as the dimwitted lovesick teen Walter Denton on Our Miss Brooks. He grew up to star in such TV series as The Real McCoys and Slattery's People. Crenna moved into feature film in the early '80s, starting with the steamy film noir remake Body Heat and later in The Flamingo Kid and First Blood. Crenna had beaten cancer once already, but was diagnosed with thyroid cancer about five years ago and was struck by fatal pancreatic cancer late in 2002. He is survived by his wife, Penni, daughters Seana and Maria, son Richard and three granddaughters.
Robert Downey Jr., who was at the Sundance Film Festival last weekend to promote the dark comedy The Singing Detective, told reporters that his bouts with cocaine addiction and subsequent jail time have not only made him older and wiser, but a better actor. "My frequent appearances on Court TV have brought me to another level than just always 'the acting guy'... I think I've become very, I don't want to say real, but I'm very tangible to people...because of my fallibility."
Actor Steven Seagal may testify in a racketeering trial targeting the mob and is expected to eventually take the stand in the prosecution of Peter Gotti, brother of the late mob boss John Gotti, and other alleged members of the Gambino crime family, The Associated Press reports. The star's troubles began when he had a falling-out with his former business partner, Julius Nasso, whom authorities allege was a Gambino associate who turned to the crime family to help him settle the score.
The Directors Guild of America will honor Gangs of New York's Golden Globe-winning director Martin Scorsese with a lifetime achievement award during its 55th annual awards ceremony March 1, the AP reports. Scorsese's directing career spans more than four decades and his work includes Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Casino, Mean Streets and Goodfellas. Scorsese, 60, is being honored for nurturing young filmmakers and his fight to preserve the legacy of motion picture.
Filmmaker Spike Lee, who was a keynote speaker Saturday at two events in Lauderhill, Fla., told teens at the Boys & Girls Club that he didn't laugh at jokes aimed at civil rights icons Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. in last year's comedy Barbershop. "To me, some things aren't funny," Lee said. "If our young children grow up thinking this, and that's all they know about (Parks and King), then we're in trouble."
The NBC news magazine Dateline will dedicate a special edition next month to pop oddity Michael Jackson's face and how it has dramatically changed over the years along with the highs and lows of his career. Jackson's Los Angeles publicist told Reuters she is outraged at the concept. "I think it's horrible that NBC is planning on doing a special on Michael Jackson's face," she said. "The network should focus on more important issues in the world."
NBC president Jeff Zucker said the network's hit comedy Friends, now in its ninth season, will positively, absolutely end its run after its upcoming 10th season. "Yes, that will be the final season. Even I acknowledge that--the 10th and final year of the best comedy on television," Zucker said at NBC's winter showcase for television critics. "The door is not open after that." NBC struck a deal last month with Warner Bros. Television to bring the show back in the fall of 2003 for 18 more episodes for a reported license fee of $10 million per episode.
Fox has officially picked up the drama pilot Skin, which uncovers the adult film industry. According to Reuters, Skin, is described as a "modern-day Romeo and Juliet" set in Los Angeles against the backdrop of the world of Boogie Nights. It centers on the daughter of a porn industry mogul who falls in love with the son of a district attorney, whose quest is to take the porn king down. The project comes from Jerry Bruckheimer and Jim Leonard, whose TV credits include Thieves and Night Visions.
A record collector in London says he has found a previously unknown recording--a jam session between Beatle John Lennon and Rolling Stone Mick Jagger--which he plans to auction off next month, Reuters reports. Auction house Cooper Owen said the old blues song, Too Many Cooks, features Jagger on vocals with Lennon singing backup. It was recorded during Lennon's so-called "lost weekend," an 18-month period he spent in 1974-75 estranged from wife Yoko Ono when he made few recordings of his own and occasionally with such rocker friends as Elton John and David Bowie.