Cover Story Excerpt: On the Set of 'Mad Men' with Jon Hamm

The star gets into character on set

Jon Hamm, Issue 1180
Mark Seliger
Jon Hamm on the cover of Rolling Stone.
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In the new issue of Rolling Stone, contributing editor Josh Eells sits down with Jon Hamm as he films the second-to-least season of Mad Men, hikes near L.A.'s Griffith Park and chills at his neighborhood dive bar. Here's an excerpt from the latest cover story, "Don Draper Exposed:"

Walking onto the Mad Men set feels slightly disconcerting – like you just stepped out of a time machine that isn't working quite right. The period details are immaculate: the rotary phones with the numbers on the base (Don: KL5-0126); the hand-assembled herbal cigarettes that are perfect replicas of Old Golds, L&Ms and Kents; the bottles of fake whiskey that assistant prop master Johnny Youngblood has spent hours turning just the right shade of brown (six drops of food coloring for Glenlivet, 12 for Jack Daniel's). But there's also a poster board with a Super Bowl pool on it, and in between takes, everyone is on their phones. ("That was the biggest change between Seasons Three and Four," says Hendricks. "Everyone was calling their agent a lot more.") Keep in mind the next time you're watching: Don Draper might have an iPhone in his pants."

Video: Jon Hamm's Rolling Stone Cover Shoot Behind the Scenes

"What he does is actually not easy," Moss says. "He sits there with a drink and a cigarette, not doing anything, and you can't take your eyes off him. Not everyone can do that." Slattery says he wanted to play Draper, but Weiner told him, "We already have that guy." He was bummed until the first day of shooting, when he realized, "Oh, wow. They really do have that guy."

Part of what people respond to about Hamm is that he's a throwback, a grown-up. When Mad Men first aired, most of the stars in Hollywood were either the Apatovian man-child types, or villains of the dickish Bradley Cooper variety. "For our hero to be in such a classic mold was fascinating and mysterious," says Weiner. "Like, ‘Where has that guy been? Did they build him in a lab?' We put Jon in the suit and cut his hair, and he went from being this very contemporary boyfriend type to, you know, Gregory Peck. There was this vibe coming off him – the physical embodiment of confidence. People saw authority. People saw glamour. Weirdly, a lot of people saw their fathers."

 

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