Jon Hamm: It’s easy to be an actor, ‘it’s hard to be a baby-heart surgeon’

GQ April Cover

I forget how much I enjoy Jon Hamm’s interviews until I sit down to read one. While Hamm’s GQ cover interview (for the April issue) isn’t the shade-throwing, reality-star-takedown extravaganza that I’ve gotten used to, I still enjoyed this piece. The point isn’t the shade, the point is that Jon Hamm is a fully grown man with adult opinions, capable of a wide-ranging conversation about many things. Unfortunately, I get the impression that GQ didn’t ask for Hamm’s take on many of subjects beyond his career and Mad Men’s final season. You can read the full piece here, and here are some highlights:

Why he’s interested in comedy: “I was just kind of that weird kid that always hung around… And you know, comedians are generally pretty nice people. I have no affinity for it other than my appreciation of it. I had no desire to get up onstage and tell jokes. I prefer to stand next to really funny people. I was always good at being observationally funny—like contributing something funny to the conversation.”

Whether Don Draper dies at the end of Mad Men: “I certainly can’t confirm or deny anything.”

Hamm never sugarcoats Don Draper: “I’m the guy who lives with the guy every day, and I’m like, ‘No, no, no, no, no,’ ” he says of people who would excuse the character’s behavior. “But I also get the thing in popular culture, American culture, where you see a broken thing and go, ‘I want to fix that. I want to shape that. I want to cure that.’ ”

The difficulties of being an actor: “Whenever people want to talk about how hard it is to be an actor, I want to go, ‘Um, it’s hard to be a baby-heart surgeon.’ Being an actor is actually pretty easy, if you can memorize lines,” he says. Still, he admits that it’s been draining to follow Don on his repeated downward spirals. “You’re kind of hoping for redemption, and it’s not forthcoming…. To consistently come in and be the bummer was always like, ‘Oh, that’s not fun.’ But at the same time, it’s been like the greatest obstacle course in the world. A puzzle to figure out.”

His career future: “Look, the one constant thing I’ve had in my career is now removed. And that’s an eye-opener: Are people still going to take me seriously? Am I just going to do romantic comedies for the rest of my life? What’s next? And I don’t know, you know? I wish I was smug enough to have had a grand plan. I guess some people would say, ‘Okay, the last three years of Mad Men is going to be like this: I want to do a play. I want to do this. I want to do that.’ I was just like, ‘I want to do something that seems cool.’ ”

[From GQ]

SPOILERS for the last half of Mad Men’s final season: now that I’ve read the full GQ article, there do seem to be some significant indications that Don Draper dies at the end. Apparently, Matthew Weiner wrote a weird, boring ending for the show and that’s the script that got sent out to everyone, then Weiner told the main core cast members the real ending privately. That kind of secrecy leads me to believe that Don will die. And there’s a hint in the GQ article too – the end is supposed to be kind of poetic and simple. Which leads me to believe that Don – like the faceless man falling through the buildings and advertisements in the opening credits – will jump to his death.


Photos courtesy of Sebastian Kim and WENN.

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35 Responses to “Jon Hamm: It’s easy to be an actor, ‘it’s hard to be a baby-heart surgeon’”

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  1. Granger says:

    I love Hamm.

    • joan says:

      Me too.

      I’m older so “Tall, Dark and Handsome” was the standard back then, and he brings it.

      With so many hairless, wimpy, even adrogynous, male stars these days, Hamm is refreshing.

      It’s time for a love story kind of movie, we don’t get them much, and he’d be great with someone like Cate Blanchett. Grownups in love.

  2. dr mantis toboggan says:

    I hope we see more of John Hamm. Much, much more

    • Kitten says:

      I f*cking love this guy.

      I never understand how some people see him as this grumpy, smug ahole. To me, he’s humble, interesting, and incredibly frank. AND he always gives great interview.

      I just adore him.

    • Amelia says:

      I’ve always loved Hamm, but having finished watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, I now rank him amongst Hiddles & co.

      • greenmonster says:

        Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne! I love Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

      • Esmom says:

        I just started watching it, I had no idea he was in it! Awesome.

      • lucy2 says:

        I was hoping someone would mention that. Karate! Karate!
        It’s almost unfair, he’s equally good at comedy and drama. Good thing he’s so hideous to look at (sarcasm).

  3. Esmom says:

    Interesting tidbit about the finale. Don’s death at times has seemed inevitable, but at times a semblance of redemption has also seemed plausible, too.

    The idea of a “poetic and simple” ending makes me think of the final scene of Lost, even though that finale was somewhat mucked up although I still don’t think it was as bad as some do.

    I like what he has to say about acting and his place in Hollywood and future roles. Nice to hear that like most of us he doesn’t have it all figured out and just hopes to do something cool and fulfilling.

  4. lunchcoma says:

    Sometimes he bugs me in interviews and sometimes I love him. This is one of the love interviews, apparently. I like that he can admit that he doesn’t know exactly where his career is headed after the show is done.

  5. Jen says:

    I go so back and forth on that ending theory…I’ve heard a lot of people say they think Don will commit suicide by jumping off a building just like the credits, but I think that would be a little obvious, maybe…and it’s never been an obvious show. I watched the Today Show interview when the cast was asked about what happens to their character in the finale, and Jon Slattery immediately expressed genuine surprise. Elisabeth Moss seemed pretty happy when she said surprised as well, but he looked like he was still processing it. Makes me even more excited!

    • Happy21 says:

      My theory…there is s struggle and someone pushes him…maybe Pete, maybe Peggy or maybe one of his kids. I’m thinking accidental not suicide.

    • lucy2 says:

      Why do interviewers ask such dumb questions? “The final season of your show is hugely anticipated. Tell us now what happens to your character. What? You can’t? Why not?”

      I’ve always thought the falling thing was more symbolic of how his life just spiraled out of control.

    • Isabelle says:

      Think if anyone does it, it will be Roger.

  6. SmellyCat says:

    I always wondered about the tumbling man at the opening of Mad Men. I’m a little surprised they used that because of 9/11 and the show does take place in NY. I have always felt that would be the way Don Draper ends up. I will miss the show for sure, and Don.

    • Jess says:

      Exactly, I’ve tried to figure out what else the opening could mean or how it could tie in with the show, but I’ve always felt like he’ll die because of that.

  7. Silvia says:

    Wow, it’s refreshing to see an actor who doesn’t try to sell his job as “so demanding and soo hard he practically sheds blood”. Of course acting is hard, but many privileges of that life would make me stop complaining. Some actors could take a page from his book.

  8. Murphy says:

    Deep down, I don’t want Don to die.

    • Isabelle says:

      Nope, its almost too easy for him to end up that way. Think an old & alone Don would be his worst punishment.

  9. Lilacflowers says:

    I like that he can put an acting career into perspective when compared to other professions. His girlfriend did a play in Boston a year ago and he pretty much stayed here in support of her through the play’s run. Seems like a supportive, decent, and fun guy but I feel no attraction to him.

    • Esmom says:

      Agreed about how he seems like a decent guy. I know he’s considered hot but he doesn’t do it for me either.

  10. kcarp says:

    An actor not equating acting to rape or a battlefield is pretty refreshing.

    Watched episode where Sally went to funeral and told Don she loved him and I hoped it wasn’t a glimpse into the future.

    I have loved watching Don get back to the basics of the ad game. He can be redeemed.

    • lunchcoma says:

      I think that attitude comes of having a little more life experience as a regular person than a lot of actors. Hamm finished college, taught high school for a little while, and worked as a waiter and a set designer during the long period when he was trying to make it as an actor. He probably has more perspective about the difficulty of various jobs than someone who’s done nothing but act since age 20.

      • kcarp says:

        You are right. Even in my middle class existence I can see the good fortune I have that I may not have appreciated when I was younger.

  11. Pamela says:

    I am a little behind on Mad Men. Last season I saw much of was when Don’s apartment had the break in when Sally was there. (Not sure how much more I have missed)

    My question is—has something happened since then that would make Don so miserable as to jump to his death?

    • lunchcoma says:

      He had some bad times since then, but by the end of last season, things were looking up for him again.

  12. Rhiley says:

    I like Jon Hamm so much, and I really want to like Mad Men because I need a new show to stream on Netflix but I can’t seem to get into it. I am going to really try when I have some time to focus on more than a couple of episodes. The acting is great; the show is just boring (or from what I have seen).

    • kcarp says:

      My husband doesnt like it because there is too much talking. He prefers blood, guts, action. Basically somewhere between Walking Dead, scarface, and Breaking Bad, with a side of sopranos.

      I like Mad Men because of the history,the ads, the flaws of the characters.

    • Esmom says:

      It took me a few attempts before I could get into MM. Have you tried more than once? And I do think it helps when you have time to binge a decent chunk of episodes. I realized the tone and mood and pacing reminds me of a book and with a few exceptions it usually takes me more than one or two chapters to really get into a book.

    • Veronica says:

      My mother couldn’t get into it, either. She grew up in that generation, and the casual sexism it examines hits a little too close to home.

  13. Zooyork says:

    Wow! I don’t know much about Jon Hamm, but this makes me really like him!!! How refreshing, grounded and intelligent. Finally a celeb realized and said something I’ve always thought.

  14. launicaangelina says:

    I just read that he was in rehab for alcoholism. I knew there were quiet rumblings that his drinking had gotten out of control but I’m still surprised to read the news.