As Mad Men slowly heads toward the finish line, John Slattery is entering a new phase of his career. The silver-haired actor – who plays the iconic Roger Sterling on the acclaimed AMC drama – is currently promoting his directorial debut film, the Seventies period drama God’s Pocket. While shooting that project (out this May), Slattery formed a close bond with the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, who appears in one of his final screen roles – prior to his February death from an accidental drug overdose. Now, in his April cover story with Men’s Journal, Slattery opens up about life after Mad Men and his unlikely friendship with the fallen legend.
“At this point in your life, you don’t discover many people you can connect with like that,” Slattery says of Hoffman, who plays a Philadelphia crook in the film. Their last encounter took place the day before Hoffman’s death; Slattery received a picture of the pair at the Sundance Film Festival, along with a bittersweet message: “This made my day.”
Three days prior to his tragic death, Hoffman spoke openly about their friendship: “I really love the guy,” he said. “I really do.” While his memory was foggy and his speech slurred, the actor also spoke admirably of Slattery’s acting and the character of Roger Sterling: “What I like about that guy is how much he loves women. His passion is women, his passion is romance – and he’s stuck in this job where he has neither. His job is about fantasy, but he lost that view of it years ago. Now he just wants to be in love somewhere.”
Elsewhere, Slattery talks at length about Mad Men – which begins its final season this April – and why they’re closing the curtain at the right time: “I just don’t know how much there is left to say,” he says. “I’m not saying it’s running out of gas – but we told the story. It’s time to go. I know some people will have a harder time dealing with that than others. But my kid was six when we started – now he’s in high school. Seven years is a long time.”
He also throws in his two cents on how he’d like to see the story wrap up: “I think it would be cool to see the core group still there – the same four or five people who started day one,” he says. “But that’s probably corny and nostalgic. That’s probably not how it’ll happen. . . as of right now, I am still alive.”