Jon Hamm: ‘I sound like an old man standing on his lawn shaking his fist’


Jon Hamm has an excellent (if slightly morose) interview with Variety this week ahead of Sunday’s premiere for the second part of the last season of Mad Men. I’ll be watching on Sunday, will you? I’m with Mad Men to the bitter, drunken end. But Hamm’s headspace these days is “what comes next.” And I’m sort of sad to say that Hamm really does seem to be begging for the next big thing, to make the legit jump to films in a larger way. You can read the full Variety piece here. Some highlights:

Playing Don Draper: “Playing this guy does not come without its own difficulties. It’s not fun to live in this guy’s headspace year after year… the darkness in Don has not abated, it’s gotten worse year after year. It’s relentless. And it can be hard on you as a person. I love coming to work; I love the people I work with. But it’s been rough.”

His sudden celebrity was hard: “I think I’m a pretty regular person thrust into incredibly irregular circumstances. It’s weird to get super-famous, super-fast. It’s really hard. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not the hardest thing in the world. It’s not performing heart surgery or breaking big rocks into little rocks. (But) it takes a lot out of you emotionally.”

On never winning an Emmy: “The minute you start crying about not winning awards, it seems a little weird. I’m in a very good group of people who haven’t won. I’ll live.”

His acting capital: “I’m afraid I’ve spent my good acting capital doing silly, nonsensical things. I hope I’ll get another chance to play a part as deep and varied and emotional and real as Don was.”

He’s not yet a movie star: “It’s hard to pick roles, honestly. There’s a certain strata of the Hollywood atmosphere that I’m decidedly not in — it’s Bradley Cooper, Pitt, Affleck, Clooney, Damon. I’m not a proven box office draw, I haven’t won an Oscar. I’m a guy from a TV show a lot of people like. I feel like a very capable actor, but I’m also looking for the thing that will make me feel fulfilled and challenged. If there’s a role I want, and they say, ‘Matt Damon’s interested,’ it’s totally legitimate. I would cast Matt Damon over me, too!”

The internet: “You want to know what’s wrong with you, just Google yourself. The most hateful, horrible things will come up. It’s anonymous, with no accountability. And it all kind of hides under the rubric of free speech.”

The rumors: “Jen and I aren’t married, and that’s something people seize on all the time. They ask, ‘When are you having kids?’ I said it to Tina once, ‘Are you going to have another kid?’ and she said, ‘When is that OK to ask?’ And she’s right. It’s such a personal question and so horribly presumptive. It’s (like) asking, ‘When are you and your husband going to f— again?’ I know, the more I talk about the Internet, the more I sound like an old man standing on his lawn shaking his fist.”

[From Variety]

Variety also includes a quote from Hamm’s friend Bryan Cranston, who says that Don Draper was and is a more difficult role to play than Walter White, and that Hamm should win the Emmy this year, breaking the drought. I do think it’s a travesty that Hamm NEVER won an Emmy for Don Draper, but I also feel like… the show won Best Drama a bunch of times. That really is honoring the whole show and the whole cast.

As for Hamm trying to figure out his place in the food chain, there’s no direct quote about this, but I get the feeling that Hamm really is trying to make a larger film career happen. And in the meantime, he’s just doing smaller parts on Netflix projects and the like. While I think Hamm has what it takes to be a real movie star, I also think he shouldn’t discount jumping into another TV show. It wouldn’t be the end of the world for him if he was *JUST* a great TV actor, you know?


Photos courtesy of Peter Yang/Variety.

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43 Responses to “Jon Hamm: ‘I sound like an old man standing on his lawn shaking his fist’”

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  1. Leah says:

    He is so hot!

  2. aims says:

    I agree about the baby question. I think it’s an extremely personal question and nobody’s business.

    • bettyrose says:

      I was chatting with a woman at a party once, total stranger, who shared with me that she’d recently quit her job and now her full time job is to “get pregnant.” TMI. Maybe she could have said “we’re hoping to start a family soon,” or something less specific. Point being, I think it’s very personal and would never just ask someone outside my inner circle about their reproductive intentions. Nor do I need details about it.

      • lucy2 says:

        Unless her job was a birth control tester, I’m failing to see what one has to do with the other!

      • bettyrose says:

        Ha! I would’ve asked but I had a sudden need to refill my drink. 😉

  3. Tiffany says:

    I think he has the skills to be a great character actor. It will be steady work and he can keep some parts of his life private because I don’t think he will do well with the hassle that comes with the title of ‘Movie Star’.

  4. nic919 says:

    There is something wrong in this world when Bradley Cooper is considered a movie star and better draw than Jon Hamm. This needs to change.

    As for winning an Emmy, I think that Hamm can pull it off this year, because with Cranston not in the running, I don’t think anyone is as good right now, even Kevin Spacey.

    • Fiona says:

      What’s with people here picking on Cooper? He’s a very talented and charismatic actor who’s obviously popular with the public. I hope Hamm is able to make the successful jump into movies too.

      • Mira says:

        I think some of the hate indirectly comes from Bradley Cooper (by no fault of his own) being a good example of how being a good-looking white male will get one a lot more in (American) life than one deserves. Particularly considering the white male privilege topic is a very hot discussion right now. Cooper is definitely a good actor, but he’s not great, and it’s difficult to find a meritorious reason for why he gets SO many choice roles.

      • Dee Kay says:

        I think Cooper IS a great actor. I think people confuse him with the parts he plays, which seems to be a problem with many celebrity watchers in general. YMMV about Cooper’s talent but he is a very popular and at the least competent actor. And as for white male privilege, I mean, Hollywood all around privileges white men in their scripts and casting, all the time. Cooper is not the exception there. So again I maintain: Cooper gets picked on for no other reason than some people don’t think he’s that hot and some people think he’s as much of a jerk as the dude he plays in Hangover films.

        Meanwhile the general public consistently pays good money to see his movies and critics laud his work.

      • Mira says:

        The good/great thing is a matter of opinion. I think Gary Oldman and Meryl Streep are great actors that particularly stand out. You seem them act and it is so, so obvious why they were picked for the role over other actors. I think Bradley Cooper is a good actor but, based on acting skills alone, is not exceptional compared to many of his peers that do not seem to receive nearly as many opportunities as him. I’m thinking of it as a relative matter – he is being picked over his peers for roles and, in my opinion, his acting abilities aren’t so clearly above and beyond his peers to justify the number of roles he snags over them.

        And as for the white male privilege thing happening all the time, that was my point. It happens all the time, therefore it’s a hot topic, and Bradley Cooper, as a visible person (vs. the writers), is a pretty easy guy to point to and think hey, he pretty much fits the bill on all those online discussions people have about white male privilege.

      • Dee Kay says:

        I guess I don’t understand how Cooper can be a sort of emblem for white male privilege *and* at the same time obviously win roles over every other white guy. I mean, it’s really simplistic for me to say this, but Cooper gets picked and other white guys don’t (like Jon Hamm). Cooper has a box office track record and other white guys don’t (like Jon Hamm, by Hamm’s admission). Cooper’s not being picked over minority men or over women for these parts, he’s beating other white guys out for these parts. Again, I totally agree that Hollywood is horrible about diversity and white guys get all the parts, and too many of the best parts are for white dudes. But Cooper getting cast all the time *is* about merit, one way or the other (either he’s a better actor or he’s just more popular and will therefore bring more box office or both). So the idea that Cooper embodies white male privilege confounds me. I mean, every single actor who acts regularly in Hollywood films embodies white male privilege, you know? Cooper literally can’t be singled out for that — b/c it’s a structural widespread issue and not an issue about a single individual. Every white dude who is a famous Hollywood actor — and all those writers and directors and producers — are a part of the big system of race- and gender-discrimination. I’m not saying people don’t or can’t blame one actor for white male privilege in Hollywood but it’s *weird* if they do because that privilege is sooooo spread out and that’s what makes it privilege. It’s like saying, That one waterpark is to blame for the California drought! I mean, maybe that waterpark is contributing to the drought but no way is the one park responsible for the whole drought. “Waterparks” and “the waterpark economy” would be better targets. And if the one waterpark is really popular or something, maybe it’s a good, well-run waterpark. But it still can’t solely be responsible for the entire drought. (Nor should it be excused for contributing to the drought – it totally does contribute to the larger systemic structural issue.)

        Sorry, it is Friday and I am burned out. This post is getting ridiculous!! I will stop typing now.

      • “Particularly considering the white male privilege topic is a very hot discussion right now”

        We must move in different circles, because I have yet to hear anyone use the term “white male privilege” as anything but part of the punchline of some joke. People using it any other way would get treated a bit like someone using “ZOG” or “Our Shape Shifting Lizard Overlords” or “International Jewish Conspiracy” or “Illuminati” in a non-ironic manner.

    • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

      As far as I’m concerned, Bradley C. had two good performances: A Team and American Sniper. A Team, because I was young and thought he was super hot, and he was super buff and he had his shirt off. There you go. American Sniper–that’s the first and only movie that I’ve ever seen where I didn’t think Bradley was coasting off of his pretty boy looks. I thought the movie started to drag in the middle, and was all in all a decent movie, but his performance MADE that movie. I was so shocked.

      • taxi says:

        I don’t see pretty or handsome when I look at Cooper – just an average, OK guy, but nobody I’d notice in a crowd. Hamm on the other hand is eye candy-I might even drool.

  5. Mira says:

    In the first picture, his facial expression is that of a curmudgeon standing on his lawn, shaking his fist.

    • Esmom says:

      My thoughts exactly! What a terrible shot. I they were going for “intense” and managed to get “grumpy” instead.

    • Hautie says:

      “…his facial expression is that of a curmudgeon standing on his lawn, shaking his fist. …”
      And let me the one to offer my lawn for Hamm to come stand on. He can shake that fist all he wants. I will even hook up the water hose with that power sprayer… to really knock those kids down!

      He will be fine career wise. I am sure having been on a strict contract for Mad Men…. stop him from spreading his wings out…. being different characters.

      I would like to see Hamm do a movie where he is a pretty man… who is deep down scary as hell.

      Like Jeff Bridges was in Jagged Edge. All you see is pretty in the beginning… and then things take a turn for the scary.

  6. Talie says:

    He never seemed to adjust to his fame level, even in the early interviews. He never seemed to be having a good time.

    The reality is, he should’ve taken any and every part offered to him, no matter how small. Instead, he took Million Dollar Arm? OK…

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I’m confused how you can write that “he should’ve taken any and every part offered to him”, and then you knock him for taking Million Dollar Arm.

      I am guessing that he took that film because it was family oriented and different from MM. Same with Bridesmaids, very different from MM.

    • lucy2 says:

      He had instant fame at an older age – while I think that makes people better equipped to deal with it, they look at it in a different way than a 20 year old newcomer.
      I get the impression that the Mad Men shooting schedule was grueling and lengthy, so it looks like he spent a lot of his down time doing guest roles on comedies with his friends. He was also in the Town and Bridesmaids, both of which did very well. I think it’ll be more telling what he chooses after Mad Men.

  7. Santolina says:

    I think he’s immature. There’s no depth to his answers. He was in rehab for alcoholism and doesn’t address it. He says he’s not married to his longtime girlfriend but doesn’t enlighten us. He says it was hard being Don Draper but he doesn’t say what he’d rather be doing.

    Old man shaking fist — no. Young man complaining about things most people would give their right arm for — yes.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      He’s talking about his career. Why should he talk about medical details like rehab? Why does he have an obligation to “enlighten” us about his marital status? Much like child planning, there are some things the public isn’t entitled to know the nitty gritty details about.

      • Luce says:

        I actually found it refreshing that he didn’t feel the need to divulge his struggles with alcoholism or insights into his relationship. Much like the “baby question,” those things are extremely personal and in the case of addiction, painful, so he owes no one any further fodder for the things that are most intimate to him.

      • **sighs** says:

        Exactly. He’s keeping his very personal life to himself. Other actors should do that more.

    • JB says:

      I don’t think there is much to enlighten anyone about regarding his relationship. They aren’t married. End of sentence. That’s pretty much all there is to know, unless you are looking for some insight into their attitudes and philosophies about marriage, which probably aren’t very interesting when you really get down to it.

  8. LadyJane says:

    He has never looked better. Sobriety suits him. I am crushing on him like I haven’t done since season 1.

  9. Eleonor says:

    I think the most intersting thing now are mostly tv series much more than movies.
    I’ve really liked him on “A young doctor’s notebook”.

    • Falula says:

      I agree! I know this is a generalization, but it feels like movies are all reboots and stories we have heard before. And now since there is so much competition between cable/netflix/amazon people are really having to bring it to another level on tv. Evidenced by how many “movie stars” want to get on new shows.

      (That being said, there are certainly so many shows on the air that I can’t believe are still running.)

  10. Victoria Norris says:

    As an actor, I totally understand what he’s saying, even if this interview strikes the average reader as a little hammy. Ehehe… 😉

    …But seriously, folks. “What next?” is the toughest, most nerve-wracking (unanswered) question every actor – high or low on the feeding chain – faces after their role (i.e. JOB) is concluded. Unless a new part is lined up and ready to go, there literally are no guarantees of future employment, regardless of previous accolades and (perceived) success.

    Worse yet, an iconic TV role plus typecasting often equals the (longterm) death of a career. Jon Hamm stated that after the success of Mad Men, he received “about 40 scripts that were all set in the 60s, or had me playing advertising guys” like his character Don Draper.

    • Mira says:

      Agree! I don’t feel as bad for him under the assumption that this role has financially set him for the rest of his life. However, I imagine it takes a big personal toll to never get another great job again if one wants to continue working past financial success.

    • boredblond says:

      In a way, it’s a complement..he was convincing in the role and that’s proof of his talent. Regardless, he can stand on my lawn and yell anytime–and I promise not to post the pics

    • WillowS says:

      I really have enjoyed him in the smaller, comedic roles he’s done. He’s a good actor with dramatic and comedic talent. I don’t think he’ll ever get a role like Don Draper again but I think he’ll do fine as long as he chooses interesting projects.

      On another note, I’m definitely planning on watching the final chapter of “Mad Men.” It’s had it’s ups and downs over the years but overall it’s been a great show and is one of my all time favorites.

  11. bettyrose says:

    I see his point, but as an internet junkie myself, I hasten to point out that the Internet is not to blame for vitriol. Honestly I don’t know where the blame falls for an increasing culture of pointlessly mean comments, but maybe too much anonymity is a bad thing? We’re pretty well behaved on this site, so it is possible to foster a respectful culture online.

  12. Apsutter says:

    Did no one give him the memo that TV is where it’s at right now? Movies are garbage compared to the diverse roles in television. You think the current silver screen could have delivered a character like Walter White? Heck no. It’s also the best place for female actors.

    • Luce says:

      That’s what I was thinking reading both his comments and Kaiser’s follow-up. It isn’t really “settling” to do TV and Netflix these days. Walter White is more well-known and Cranston is more venerated than the string of “Chris” dudes will ever be. I’ve always thought the entertainment’s hiearchy was silly, but today, it really is only a leftover from those stuck in antiquated mindsets, be it in the studio or outside. The most meaty and quality scripts are serialized dramas now on Netflix or the cable nets, primarily, and there are also network TV shows that meet this criteria, too. That’s why mostly tentpoles and superheroes are the money-makers and why things like American Sniper become such an “event” — it’s a rarity. Hamm should seek out more TV roles.

      • lucy2 says:

        I agree, the roles for TV are much better than films right now, and with the trend towards short seasons, gives the actors a chance to do other projects the rest of the year.

  13. Esmom says:

    I’ll be watching Sunday. And it really will be a shame if he doesn’t win because he’s been great in the role. But there have also been so many other really great performances from that cast. January J and Vincent K are amazing and I think really underrated.

  14. Grace says:

    What is “acting capital”? I got lost on that one. Hamm is great as Draper but he I don’t think he is as good as B Cooper, yet. In the most dramatic moments on Mad Men, I can sometime see him acting. He’s a brilliant comedian though. Loved him in 30 Rock.

    • Nic919 says:

      Hamm as Draper is an iconic performance. What has Bradley Cooper done so far that will be that memorable? American Sniper was good but not great, not when compared to the other Oscar nominees or even Jake Gyllehaal, who was great in Nightcrawler.

      I don’t hate Cooper, I just think his performances are fine, not spectacular. He is definitely overhyped.

  15. Michele says:

    Gorgeous man!

  16. Michele says:

    Gorgeous man!