TORONTO — Blame Clint Eastwood. The world premiere of “Hereafter” started very late last night, and I didn’t get back to my hotel room in time for “Mad Men” (which, I suspect, might have been better than the movie. More on that later.). I won’t have a chance to catch up with the episode until I get home to Seattle midweek. But I did meet Don Draper himself, Jon Hamm, here at TIFF, for an interview a couple of days ago. It’ll be published next week, but as a peace offering, here are his thoughts on that very emotional breakdown scene in “The Suitcase”:
I am tremendously proud of that episode. I love Lizzie [Elisabeth Moss]. She, from the beginning, has been a rock on that show. Consistently excellent, and when we got that script and realized we would be working together for basically the whole week, I was thrilled. And just really, really proud of that episode. I love Elisabeth, she’s a wonderful actress, a tremendous scene partner, so present, and has been since the begining. If she’s got one line in a scene, she is on it and amazing, if she’s got a whole scene, she is on it and amazing. She is a wonderfully gifted, accomplished young acrtess. It’s a pleasure to be in scenes with her. I’m glad [the episode] is resonating with people.
It’s always difficult to try to bring real emotion, real, deep emotion, because it’s hard and it’s vulnerable, and you have to be real in that moment or else it’s fake. Part of it was being as comfortable as I am with Lizzie, part of it was being as emotionally close to the charater as I am, now four seasons in,and a big part of it was the relationship Don has with Anna. Melinda is such a wonderful actress, we just have this history, and it becomes very real. And on the day, obviously that was a very difficult scene to get through, but on the day it was very immediate for me, very raw and visceral and I forget at what point during the week we shot that, but I think we had kind of gone through a lot of that stuff already. I don’t want to say it was easy, but very immediate and very accessible to get to that place,. Again, there’s no better scene partner on the planet than Elisabeth Moss. A devastatingly talented individual.
(Yes, it is very weird to talk to someone you watch on TV every week, made doubly weird by the fact that he didn’t look much like Don Draper — he was very casual and contemporary-looking — but sounded exactly like him. But he couldn’t have been nicer.)
If any of you want to discuss Sunday’s episode in the comments, please do! I’ll jump in when I can. Hope it was a great one.