Rain pelted the clear, plastic tent covering the black carpet at AMC’s premiere of “Mad Men’s” seventh season, marking a fittingly despondent tone for what sentimental fans are calling the beginning of the end. Held at the Arclight Hollywood theater, fans lined up in a gated area virtually impossible to access from where Jon Hamm, Matthew Weiner, January Jones, and more cast and crew walked Wednesday night. Only Vincent Kartheiser made the extreme effort to get to celebrity selfie-seeking fans, leaping over the carpet’s adjacent gate, winding past a few more gates, and making his way to a grateful fan base. While Kartheiser was making Pete Campbell fans’ happy, the rest of the crew took a few brief moments to discuss the series before heading to the dry theater for the show’s premiere.
Here are the highlights:
If Jon Hamm and Don Draper sat down for a drink, Jon would ask Don to “shape up.”
So says the man who plays both roles, on and off screen. Jon Hamm, sporting another dapper suit for the premiere, said “I think we’d talk about life. I think we’d talk about families. I think we’d talk about experiences, and I’d ask him to please shape up.”
Elizabeth Moss doesn’t want Peggy to take Don’s spot, in the show or as a lead character.
When asked whether or not Peggy will be taking over Don’s place at the company, a la the shot imitating the opening credits in the season six finale, Moss said, “I hope she kind of finds her own place. I think that she could. I think that she will find maybe a better, happier place, hopefully. No offense.”
She went on to squelch the idea Peggy is the true lead of the show. “It’s about Don Draper,” Moss said after saying she was flattered by the idea. “I think he’s the lead character of the show.”
Moss also has hopes Peggy will get what she wants by the end of the series. “I want her to be working and I want her to be successful at her work, but I think that’s because I identify with her,” Moss said. “I want what she wants.”
Matthew Weiner said the biggest difference between making a TV show and shooting a film is in the editing and the actors.
Weiner took some time between seasons of “Mad Men” to shoot the upcoming feature film, “You Are Here.” When asked about what it was like to change pace and move into film after shooting for TV, Weiner said, “I cheated a little bit because I brought a lot of the crew from the show with me. My cinematographer, production designer, producer, I mean a lot of people. We really kind of moved to North Carolina. Props. Everything. We moved, like, 15 positions. Working with new actors was the biggest difference. Telling a new story and working with new actors. And being on location all the time, too, which we have such control on the set, but it was very different. Editorially was the biggest difference because I know how long the show is each week, and a movie is more elastic.”
Weiner believes “Mad Men” is responsible for the rise in period pieces on TV.
When asked what changes he’s seen in television since “Mad Men” began, Weiner first said there are a lot more cable networks making original shows. Then he said, “I think people aren’t as scared of period [set TV shows]. There was a thing, basically, that something that was period was too expensive and American history in particular is not interesting to the international market place. That turned out to not be true at all. So there’s a lot of imitation that way, not that they’re basing off of us, but off our success.”
“We really didn’t invent anything here. The thing that’s kind of fun is that, if anything — and it comes from ‘The Sopranos’ — I think there’s a little bit more respect for the audience. Since this show has been on the air, and ‘The Sopranos’ certainly, that the audience is gonna follow what’s going on, watch every episode, and be demanding that it’s coherent. They’re going to demand entertainment every week, but that they’re completely capable of understanding something without it being explained to them with a sledgehammer. That you could make money telling stories that way was a new idea to everybody.”
Robert Morse said AMC executives threaten the cast members with their own blood in order to maintain secrecy.
Morse, who plays the sock-sporting Bertram Cooper, joked about the veil of secrecy constantly draped over AMC’s drama. “We’re sort of sworn to secrecy,” More said. “They take our blood in the beginning of the season. It’s a little vampire-ish. They hold it in a vial and tell us, ‘If you say things, we’ll make you drink it.'”
Morse became more serious when asked for his reaction to the season premiere. “Grief,” Morse said plainly. “It’s the last show after seven years, and I think we all have a feeling of loss. You know it’s over.”