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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

September 10, 2010 at 11:43 AM

At TIFF: Jon Hamm, “Black Swan”

HammTown.jpgTORONTO — “I like that skirt,” said Don Draper.
Interviewing a movie star is a fairly surreal experience; interviewing an actor whose work you watch religiously on “Mad Men” every Sunday night is even more so. Jon Hamm, of course, is not Don Draper, but his voice is the same and I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that I was at some very casual and topsy-turvy Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce meeting, with Don wearing a plaid shirt and jeans and cheerfully offering me some coffee. Anyway, Hamm couldn’t have been nicer, singing the praises of both his “Mad Men” colleagues and his collaborators in “The Town,” the Ben Affleck-directed crime drama he’s here flogging at TIFF. I’ll save the real quotes for when I write the interview up, but here’s a “Mad Men” tidbit: Hamm said he didn’t know how Don first got his job at Sterling Cooper until he got the script for the episode that aired two weeks ago (series creator Matthew Weiner likes to keep things close to the vest). And yes, he’ll be on “30 Rock” again this fall, doing something that will surely be “funny and humiliating.” (No, he doesn’t know if the hand transplant took.)
Saw Darren Aronofsky’s ballet thriller “Black Swan” this morning, and, oh my — the vague description I’d heard of ” ‘The Red Shoes’ on acid” is about right. Actually, it’s like “The Red Shoes” mixed with “Single White Female” mixed with “Carrie” mixed with “The Turning Point” mixed with something kinkier and crazier and utterly its own; something that finds and celebrates the innate weirdness of ballet that exists alongside its beauty. Natalie Portman plays a young dancer who is suddenly cast as the lead in a new version of “Swan Lake,” and who finds that the role begins to consume her in unexpected ways. “Black Swan,” fueled by Tchaikovsky (that score has never sounded scarier), whips along like a ballerina’s fouette turns, its tension never flagging. It’s melodrama, sure — but then, so was “The Red Shoes.”
Off again, to go see “Never Let Me Go.” More later . . .
(Photo: Jon Hamm at TIFF. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn.)

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