Jon Hamm hopes viewers will accept roles apart from the womaniser he plays in Mad Men

Last look: Mad Men's (from left) Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, Elisabeth Moss, January Jones and Jessica Pare.
Last look: Mad Men's (from left) Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, Elisabeth Moss, January Jones and Jessica Pare.PHOTOS: FX
Last look: Mad Men's (from left) Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, Elisabeth Moss, January Jones and Jessica Pare.
Last look: Mad Men's (from left) Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, Elisabeth Moss, January Jones and Jessica Pare.PHOTOS: FX
Last look: Mad Men's (from left) Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, Elisabeth Moss, January Jones and Jessica Pare.
Last look: Mad Men's (from left) Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, Elisabeth Moss, January Jones and Jessica Pare.PHOTOS: FX
Last look: Mad Men's (from left) Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, Elisabeth Moss, January Jones and Jessica Pare.
Last look: Mad Men's (from left) Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, Elisabeth Moss, January Jones and Jessica Pare.PHOTOS: FX

Like Don Draper taking on new challenges in Mad Men's final season, Jon Hamm is ready to live a life without the hit TV series when it comes to an end at the end of Season 7

Mad Men star Jon Hamm is going to be out of a regular job when the acclaimed TV drama comes to an end at the end of Season 7 - and he is fine with that.

"All good things come to an end," the 43-year-old actor tells Life! and other international media in a telephone interview. "Other shows sort of fade away or peter out, but the good shows end.

"And you know, I don't want to be on a show that overstays its welcome."

Already, interest in the much talked- about show appears to be waning. When it was broadcast last week in the United States, the show's seventh and final season had the lowest ratings for a season premiere since Season 2's 2008 opener.

Season 7 premieres in Singapore on FX (StarHub TV Channel 507 and SingTel mio TV Channel 310) on Tuesday at 10pm.

The buzz surrounding the show appears to have diminished somewhat, in the light of fierce competition from several other top-notch TV dramas such as Homeland and Breaking Bad, which ended its run last year.

In any case, Hamm is convinced that his show will not be ending on a poor note. How good programmes end, he says, is just as crucial as how they began.

"I feel like we've laid the proper groundwork and prepared the show to end, and that's part of every storytelling experience - it's the beginning, middle and the end, and this is just as important as those other two.

"Our show is ending at the right time. I mean, we've watched Breaking Bad, True Detective and 30 Rock - we've watched those shows that for one reason or another had endings put on them.

"I think they've all been successful in their final act, and I hope ours is as well."

While Mad Men, which follows the life of Hamm's sexy and charismatic but also chauvinistic advertising executive character Don Draper, has never been a ratings magnet, it has attracted accolades.

Since its debut in 2007, the 1960s-era show has won four Emmys for Best Drama Series four years in a row (from 2008 to 2011) and two Golden Globes in the same category in 2008 and 2009.

In its final season - which has been split into two parts, with the second half airing next year - Draper is at his lowest point yet: angry and unemployed, and far from the sleek, super-cool cat that he once was in the advertising world.

"It was a big deal for Don to be fired and I think that's a bit of a wake-up call," says the actor. "But I think the one pattern that we've established with Draper is that he tends to rise to challenges... That's a bit of a hint as to what we can expect in the final episodes."

As calm as Hamm sounds in this interview, he confesses that when the time comes to film the final episode, he will "be a mess, honestly".

"This show has taken up a decade of my life and it's been a great decade. I've met a lot of people whom I think will be friends for the rest of my life. I've had a lot of amazing experiences and I've gotten to go to awards shows and experience these things you never think will happen when you start being an actor.

"It's been an emotional roller-coaster ride, so when it's time to get off, I'm going to be like, I don't want to get off, man."

Earnestly, he adds: "I'm going to be an absolute disaster. There will be tears, there will probably be fistfights and hair-pulling and every expression of emotion that you can imagine. It will be Biblical in its emotion."

That said, he is prepared to face the future without the regular pay cheque of a TV series and without certainty that he would land a role as critically beloved as Draper.

"I'm aware that I'm going to be unemployed very soon. I don't know what the future holds - it's a brave new world out there," says Hamm. "But I don't feel pressure to have to surpass Mad Men. I don't feel like acting is a competition in that way. I mean, as actors, we are kind of beholden to the scripts that we get.

"Hopefully, I'll be fortunate enough to work with a writer, film-maker or TV creator who is as creative and talented as Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner. I owe 100 per cent of my success and career to that guy and I recognise all of that."

Hamm is not kidding when he says he "owes" his career to Weiner. Mad Men launched Hamm into stardom and earned him critical acclaim, giving him a Golden Globe award for Best Actor (Drama) in 2008, and nominations in the same category at the Emmys for every year that the show has been broadcast so far.

Since then, he has also played memorable parts on 30 Rock and comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live, as well as the hit movie Bridesmaids (2011) as Kristen Wiig's cocky sex partner.

Mad Men also turned him into a heart-throb - something he finds fascinating. "If you could see me right now in my sweat pants and how my dog is staring at me and wondering when she's going to be fed, you'll know how silly I find the sex symbol thing," says Hamm, whose partner for the last 17 years is 44-year-old actress-director Jennifer Westfelt (Friends With Kids, 2012).

"I don't know anyone who approaches that title or status with anything but a bemused kind of curiosity."

So he was only all too ready to drop the sexy for his next project, the sports drama Million Dollar Arm. The biographical tale directed by Craig Gillespie (Lars And The Real Girl, 2007), which opens in American cinemas next month, is based on the true story of how sports agent J.B. Bernstein (Hamm) discovered two Indian baseball pitchers through a reality show.

"We'll see if people want to only see me sort of brooding, drinking and whoring around," he says with a laugh, referring to Draper's vices and womanising ways. "I hope they like the other version of me too."

yipwy@sph.com.sg

Follow Yip Wai Yee on Twitter @STyipwaiyee

Mad Men Season 7 premieres on FX (StarHub TV Channel 507 and SingTel mio TV Channel 310) on Tuesday at 10pm.

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