Jon Hamm

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-hour Archive interview, Jon Hamm discusses his childhood in St. Louis, Missouri and his early love of reading. He recalls how he got interested in acting and decided to move to Los Angeles in 1995 to try to make it as an actor. He talks of not finding immediate success, but eventually landing a role on Providence, followed by a regular role on the series The Division. He explains how he shot episodes of The Unit after shooting the pilot for Mad Men, not knowing whether or not Mad Men would be picked up. Hamm then details his work as "Don Draper" on Mad Men - he describes his audition process, working with his castmates and show creator Matthew Weiner, and production on the show. He comments on the Mad Men finale, and shares what he'll miss most about working on the program. Hamm also touches on his experiences with live television on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, speaks of doing improv on Web Therapy, and talks of working with his former acting student, Ellie Kemper, on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. He describes what he likes about acting, outlines his then-current projects, and offers advice to aspiring actors. Jenni Matz conducted the interview on June 25, 2015 in Beverly Hills, CA.

"At the end of the day, what we all hope to do is be a part of something eternal. Something that continues to inspire generation after generation and I really hope our show ['Mad Men'] is one of those."

Highlights
Jon Hamm on what he hopes people will be saying about Mad Men 40 years in the future
01:47
Jon Hamm on pivotal moments in the relationship between "Peggy Olson" and "Don Draper" on Mad Men and working with Elisabeth Moss
03:27
Jon Hamm on whether or not "Don Draper" came up with the Coca-Cola commercial in the final episode of Mad Men
01:48
Jon Hamm on what he likes about acting - "you get paid to play"
01:29
Jon Hamm on the "Jon Hamm's John Ham" sketch on Saturday Night Live
00:31
Jon Hamm on the look between "Sally" and "Don" on Mad Men when he shows her the house in which he grew up 
01:44
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his parents' deaths when he was young; on his love of books and reading; on television shows he watched growing up
08:04
On attending UT Austin and the University of Missouri, St. Louis; on transferring to and graduating from the University of Missouri, Columbia; on getting involved with the theater department and moving to Los Angeles in 1995
04:34
On auditioning and getting signed by William Morris; on not finding immediate success with acting and working odd jobs to make a living; on giving himself a deadline of age 30 to make it as an actor (and meeting that deadline)  
02:39
On getting a recurring role on Providence; on experiencing a serialized TV drama for the first time; on his first series regular role on The Division
05:41
On shooting The Unit after shooting the pilot for Mad Men; on not knowing whether or not Mad Men would be picked up
02:41
On how he learned about Mad Men; on his many auditions for the show and Matthew Weiner fighting for him to play "Don Draper"
07:22
On the pilot for Mad Men and Matthew Weiner's vision for "Don Draper"; on how he prepared to play the character; on production on the show
11:32
On the table reads for Mad Men and the Coke commercial and three phone calls in the finale
18:53

Chapter 2

On directing two episodes of Mad Men and what it was like to be on both sides of the camera; on turning down the opportunity to direct in season seven; on what he as an actor brings to directing
07:10
On working in both film and television and the appeal of working in television 
01:19
On his castmates on Mad Men; on the relationship between "Betty Draper" and "Don Draper" on Mad Men  and working with January Jones
02:13
On the relationship between "Peggy Olson" and "Don Draper" on Mad Men and working with Elisabeth Moss; on pivotal moments in the relationship between "Pete Campbell" and "Don Draper" on Mad Men  and working with Vincent Kartheiser; on working with John Slattery on Mad Men  and the relationship between "Roger Sterling" and "Don Draper"
07:32
On working with Kiernan Shipka on Mad Men  and the relationship between "Sally Draper" and "Don Draper"
04:24
On how his life changed when Mad Men became successful; on the press for and fanbase of Mad Men; on winning a Golden Globe and what he hopes people will be saying about Mad Men in the future; on what he'll miss most about the show
12:19
On his experiences doing live television on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock; on appearing on Web Therapy and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
08:35
On his acting mentors and what he likes about acting; on then-current projects and what he would want to tell his younger self when starting out in the business; on career regrets and where he'll be in ten years
07:54
Shows

30 Rock

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Jon Hamm on his experiences doing live television on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock
01:01
Jon Hamm on how he got asked to come on 30 Rock; on working with Tina Fey
01:12

Division, The

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Jon Hamm on his first series regular role on The Division (alongside Taraji P. Henson) and for the first time having some security in his career
01:07
Jon Hamm on developing his role on The Division and learning about the business of television
00:52

Mad Men

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Jon Hamm on how he learned about Mad Men and his first audition for the show (a pre-read); on subsequent callbacks for the role
04:56
Jon Hamm on feeling he was right for the role of "Don Draper" on Mad Men and Matthew Weiner recognizing that and fighting for him 
02:33
Jon Hamm on the pilot for Mad Men and Matthew Weiner's vision for "Don Draper"; on how he prepared to play the character
02:10
Jon Hamm on not doing much additional research on the '60s era in his preparations for Mad Men, but remembering the commercials he watched when he was growing up 
02:18
Jon Hamm on shows about advertising traditionally not having high stakes, and Mad Men breaking those rules
01:09
Jon Hamm on learning that Mad Men got picked up and the decisions that were made about production
01:21
Jon Hamm on Mad Men shooting in Los Angeles
00:59
Jon Hamm on his process when he received a Mad Men script and maintaining a level of consistency with his character
01:28
Jon Hamm on his process for playing the "Dick Whitman/Don Draper" duality on Mad Men and his working relationship with Matthew Weiner
02:07
Jon Hamm on the table reads for Mad Men and that being the only real rehearsal
01:34
Jon Hamm on not making changes to lines on Mad Men and trusting Matthew Weiner
01:13
Jon Hamm on the period-specific language and smoking culture portrayed on Mad Men
03:06
Jon Hamm on similarities between his father and "Don Draper" on Mad Men
01:35
Jon Hamm on going to dark places while playing "Don Draper" on Mad Men and how "Don's" journey ends in the final episode
04:00
Jon Hamm on the Coca-Cola commercial in the final episode of Mad Men
02:02
Jon Hamm on whether or not "Don Draper" came up with the Coca-Cola commercial in the final episode of Mad Men
01:48
Jon Hamm on being pleased with how the storylines were wrapped up when Mad Men ended
02:05
Jon Hamm on filming the last few episodes of Mad Men without the other regular cast members present
01:29
Jon Hamm on the three phone calls in the finale of Mad Men
02:03
Jon Hamm on directing two episodes of Mad Men and what it was like to be on both sides of the camera; on turning down the opportunity to direct in season seven; on what he as an actor brings to directing
06:05
Jon Hamm on learning from the other directors of Mad Men and learning from all sets he's been on
01:05
Jon Hamm on the relationship between "Betty Draper" and "Don Draper" on Mad Men and working with January Jones
02:13
Jon Hamm on pivotal moments in the relationship between "Peggy Olson" and "Don Draper" on Mad Men and working with Elisabeth Moss
03:27
Jon Hamm on pivotal moments in the relationship between "Pete Campbell" and "Don Draper" on Mad Men and working with Vincent Kartheiser
02:42
Jon Hamm on working with John Slattery on Mad Men and the relationship between "Roger Sterling" and "Don Draper"
01:23
Jon Hamm on working with Kiernan Shipka on Mad Men and the relationship between "Sally Draper" and "Don Draper"
03:30
Jon Hamm on sometimes giving Kiernan Shipka acting tips and advice on Mad Men
00:54
Jon Hamm on how his life changed when Mad Men became successful and he started to get recognized more; on dealing with celebrity
03:06
Jon Hamm on David Simon wondering how such a specific story on The Wire can resonate with such a wide audience and how a niche show like Mad Men  can do the same
01:54
Jon Hamm on what it's like to play a flawed character on Mad Men; on other flawed heroes or anti-heroes throughout TV history
02:39
Jon Hamm on the press for and fanbase of Mad Men
01:19
Jon Hamm on winning a Golden Globe for Mad Men
01:05
Jon Hamm on what he hopes people will be saying about Mad Men 40 years in the future
01:47
Jon Hamm on what he'll miss most about Mad Men and about playing "Don Draper"
02:25
Jon Hamm on parodying Mad Men's "Don Draper" on Saturday Night Live
01:06

Providence

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Jon Hamm on getting a recurring role on Providence
01:20
Jon Hamm on his first experience on the set of a serialized drama - on Providence
00:45

Saturday Night Live

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Jon Hamm on watching Saturday Night Live when he was young
00:46
Jon Hamm on his first time hosting Saturday Night Live in 2008
00:27
Jon Hamm on his experiences doing live television on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock
03:14
Jon Hamm on the "Jon Hamm's John Ham" sketch on Saturday Night Live
00:31
Jon Hamm on parodying Mad Men's "Don Draper" on Saturday Night Live
01:06

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

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Jon Hamm on working with his former student Ellie Kemper on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
00:56

Web Therapy

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Jon Hamm on doing improv on Web Therapy and working with Dan Bucatinsky and Lisa Kudrow
01:36

Wire, The

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Jon Hamm on David Simon wondering how such a specific story on The Wire can resonate with such a wide audience and how a niche show like Mad Men can do the same
01:54
Topics

Advice

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Jon Hamm on what he would want to tell his younger self when starting out in the business
01:50

Characters & Catchphrases

View Topic
Jon Hamm on his process for playing the "Dick Whitman/Don Draper" duality on Mad Men and his working relationship with Matthew Weiner
02:07
Jon Hamm on similarities between his father and "Don Draper" on Mad Men; on going to dark places with the character
05:35

Classic TV series episodes

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Jon Hamm on going to dark places while playing "Don Draper" on Mad Men and how "Don's" journey ends in the final episode (the Coca-Cola commercial)
05:48

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Jon Hamm on his acting mentors
01:14

Drama

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Jon Hamm on going to dark places while playing "Don Draper" on Mad Men and how "Don's" journey ends in the final episode (the Coca-Cola commercial)
05:48

Fame and Celebrity

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Jon Hamm on how his life changed when Mad Men became successful and he started to get recognized more; on dealing with celebrity
03:06

Memorable Moments on Television

View Topic
Jon Hamm on going to dark places while playing "Don Draper" on Mad Men and how "Don's" journey ends in the final episode (the Coca-Cola commercial)
05:48

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Jon Hamm on his acting mentors 
01:14

Pop Culture

View Topic
Jon Hamm on going to dark places while playing "Don Draper" on Mad Men and how "Don's" journey ends in the final episode (the Coca-Cola commercial)
05:48
Jon Hamm on his process for playing the "Dick Whitman/Don Draper" duality on Mad Men and his working relationship with Matthew Weiner
02:07
Jon Hamm on similarities between his father and "Don Draper" on Mad Men; on going to dark places with the character
05:35
Jon Hamm on how his life changed when Mad Men became successful and he started to get recognized more; on dealing with celebrity
03:06

Television Industry

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Jon Hamm on what he would want to tell his younger self when starting out in the business
01:50
Professions

Actor

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Jon Hamm on his early days trying to make it as an actor in Los Angeles
02:39
Jon Hamm on what he likes about acting - "you get paid to play"
01:19
Jon Hamm on what he would want to tell his younger self when starting out in the business
01:50

Directors

View Profession
Jon Hamm on directing two episodes of Mad Men and what it was like to be on both sides of the camera; on turning down the opportunity to direct in season seven; on what he as an actor brings to directing
06:05
Jon Hamm on learning from the other directors of Mad Men and learning from all sets he's been on 
01:05

Performers

View Profession
Jon Hamm on his early days trying to make it as an actor in Los Angeles
02:39
Jon Hamm on what he likes about acting - "you get paid to play"
01:29
Jon Hamm on what he would want to tell his younger self when starting out in the business
01:50
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Jon Hamm on doing improv on Web Therapy and working with Dan Bucatinsky and Lisa Kudrow
01:36
Jon Hamm on how he got asked to come on 30 Rock; on working with Tina Fey
01:12
Jon Hamm on working with his former student Ellie Kemper on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
00:56

Commercials

View Genre
Jon Hamm on going to dark places while playing "Don Draper" on Mad Men and how "Don's" journey ends in the final episode (the Coca-Cola commercial)
05:48

Drama Series

View Genre
Jon Hamm on his first experience on the set of a serialized drama - on Providence
00:45
Jon Hamm on shooting The Unit after shooting the pilot for Mad Men
02:00
Jon Hamm on getting cast on Mad Men, production on the series, working with Matthew Weiner, and the series finale
37:47
Jon Hamm on directing two episodes of Mad Men, working with the cast, and what he'll miss about the show
34:57

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Jon Hamm on his experiences doing live television on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock
04:51
People

Dan Bucatinksy

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Jon Hamm on doing improv on Web Therapy and working with Dan Bucatinsky and Lisa Kudrow
01:36

Tina Fey

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Jon Hamm on how he got asked to come on 30 Rock; on working with Tina Fey
01:12

Taraji P. Henson

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Jon Hamm on his first series regular role on The Division (alongside Taraji P. Henson)
00:38

January Jones

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Jon Hamm on directing January Jones in the Mad Men episode "Tea Leaves" (with January Jones eight months pregnant and in prosthetics)
01:00
Jon Hamm on the relationship between "Betty Draper" and "Don Draper" on Mad Men and working with January Jones
02:10

Vincent Kartheiser

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Jon Hamm on pivotal moments in the relationship between "Pete Campbell" and "Don Draper" on Mad Men and working with Vincent Kartheiser
02:42

Ellie Kemper

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Jon Hamm on working with his former student Ellie Kemper on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
00:56

Lisa Kudrow

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Jon Hamm on doing improv on Web Therapy and working with Dan Bucatinsky and Lisa Kudrow
01:36

David Mamet

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Jon Hamm on shooting The Unit (directed and created by David Mamet) after shooting the pilot for Mad Men
01:20

Seth Meyers

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Jon Hamm on the "Jon Hamm's John Ham" sketch (written by Seth Meyers) on Saturday Night Live
00:31

Lorne Michaels

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Jon Hamm on working with Lorne Michaels on Saturday Night Live
01:38

Elisabeth Moss

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Jon Hamm on the three phone calls in the finale of Mad Men and Elisabeth Moss really being on the phone
02:03
Jon Hamm on pivotal moments in the relationship between "Peggy Olson" and "Don Draper" on Mad Men and working with Elisabeth Moss
03:27

Kiernan Shipka

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Jon Hamm on working with Kiernan Shipka on Mad Men and the relationship between "Sally Draper" and "Don Draper"
03:30
Jon Hamm on sometimes giving Kiernan Shipka acting tips and advice on Mad Men
00:54

David Simon

View Person Page
Jon Hamm on David Simon wondering how such a specific story on The Wire can resonate with such a wide audience and how a niche show like Mad Men can do the same
01:54

John Slattery

View Person Page
Jon Hamm on working with John Slattery on Mad Men and the relationship between "Roger Sterling" and "Don Draper"
01:23

Matthew Weiner

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Jon Hamm on how he learned about Matthew Weiner's new pilot, Mad Men, and his first audition for the show (a pre-read); on callbacks for the role
04:31
Jon Hamm on feeling he was right for the role of "Don Draper" on Mad Men and Matthew Weiner recognizing that and fighting for him
02:33
Jon Hamm on the pilot for Mad Men and Matthew Weiner's vision for "Don Draper"; on how he prepared to play the character
02:10
Jon Hamm on his process for playing the "Dick Whitman/Don Draper" duality in Mad Men and his working relationship with Matthew Weiner
02:07
Jon Hamm on not making changes to lines on Mad Men and trusting Matthew Weiner
01:13

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