“Indie Wire” — When I walked into a substantial Four Seasons hotel room, the chosen site for all things “Mad Men,” the first thing I noticed was how small it felt. Despite the singular “room” having rooms, plural, the large space was made tiny by a broad table placed in its center. Soon, nine reporters would gather around it, with the common goal of grilling Jon Hamm into giving out some precious information on the final season of “Mad Men.”
But what was billed as a “roundtable” discussion became a claustrophobic press conference. Instead of functioning as a group effort, the ordeal became sporadically disjointed, jumping from topic to topic with reckless abandon and little commonality between individual causes. The optimistic goal of the cramped quartering was dead, and — as the fox says — chaos reigned.
Yet standing tall above the ruckus, wearing a finely-tailored gray suit — asking us permission to remove his jacket before beginning — was Hamm himself. With a quick wit, charming smile and energetic demeanor, the leading man of Matthew Weiner’s Emmy-winning series made his significant presence felt the second he walked in, singing a song of his own making.
“Round table, rouuund table,” Hamm pleasantly improvised as he strode confidently to his chair. “Potato chips and Diet Coke and tables and icebreakers.”
Despite the dark drama inherent to “Mad Men,” humor has always been a huge part of Hamm’s appeal. In case anyone had forgotten, the star showcased his comedic chops to full effect in our 20-minute conversation, drawing consistent laughs from the otherwise hushed crowd, trying to record Hamm’s every insight. Below are the highlights of that talk, preserved to accurately reflect not only the human being we all clamored to speak with, but why he was worth the fight in the first place.
“The Big Picture” of Season 7b
“Well, I’m not allowed to say anything, but I will.”
Secrecy and “Mad Men” go hand-in-hand, so it came as no surprise when Hamm made the above joke about preparing the audience for the final season.
“I think Matthew [Weiner] was very clear in saying he wanted what we’re calling [Season] 7a and 7b to be one, cohesive story. I think I can say with some degree of certainty — because I’ve read all of them and acted in them — that that’s true. When last we saw Don, he was watching Burt shuffle off his mortal coil. We ended with [the song] ‘The Best Things in Life are Free.’ Obviously, it was chosen for a reason. To say that to someone who makes his living in advertising is clearly meant to be a lesson. So in the big picture, we’ll see how that lesson is learned. If it is. That’s about as cryptic as I could make it.”