Jon Hamm is a very interesting fellow -- but you kind of already knew that once the star of 'Mad Men' completely deconstructed his Don Draper image by becoming a go-to 'SNL' host and Emmy nominee for his guest role on '30 Rock.' Here's one thing you might not have known about Hamm, however: he's a 'Game of Thrones' superfan.
Hamm is in Toronto in support of the new comedy 'Friends with Kids' -- a film written, directed and co-starring his long-time girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt. He plays Ben, a seemingly happy husband to Kristen Wiig's Missy, until their first child threatens the relationship. Moviefone sat down with Hamm at the Toronto International Film Festival to discuss the new film (which is still looking for distribution), if comedy is his post-'Mad Men' future, his level of fame and, yes, his opinion of Ned Stark's fate on 'Game of Thrones.'
I heard something in 'Friends with Kids' that I had never heard before. Your character referred to Megan Fox's character as Titty McTitenheimer.
Jon Hamm: That might have been my idea. You know, we were trying to think of dismissive ways to refer to Megan's character... and Megan Fox is Megan Fox. I mean, she is a gorgeous, young, beautiful woman and that seemed to be the quickest way to turn all of that on its head into crass and awful. Fortunately, it was me that got to deliver that particular line.
You collaborated on this movie about kids and the tumultuous aspects of love with your romantic partner, Jennifer Westfeldt. You're a better man than me.
There were certainly a lot of pitfalls that can crop up. You know, part of the reason why we didn't obviously play opposite one another was to sort of lessen that. Not only for the audience -- which I think has a particularly tricky time differentiating between real and fake-y times.
So you were worried people would think, Obviously this is the story of Jon and Jen's life?
No. Because it's not. But we did kind of realize that there was a little crossover there and I think that makes the story a little richer, honestly. It's like, "OK, yeah, these guys are going through that." I think for people of a certain generation -- mine and I think ten years to either side of me -- there's a lot to recognize in that kind of, "What are we doing? What's going on?" It's a little bit zeitgeist-y at the moment., too. I think you're seeing the younger generation like with 'Friends with Benefits' or -- what's the other one?
'No Strings Attached.'
'No Strings Attached,' whatever. You know, the sort of "What are we doing? Should we get married? What are we doing? Is it this? Is it that?" Jen made a movie about that six years ago called 'Ira & Abby' and, in many ways, this is a completion of her trilogy about relationships. With 'Kissing Jessica Stein' it explored sexuality; with 'Ira & Abby' it explored marriage and now, on this one, it explores having kids. And those are kind of three big steps in identity and relationships and life.
Yes, there is a certain age that you get to when you ask yourself, "What am I doing?"
And the film definitely asks that question. And I think the answer is sometimes not always what you want to hear. And I think that's life. That is the difficulty of living in our society. Anyway...
It's nice that Ben eventually seems happy. Especially after quite a few dickish scenes.
A big reason for that -- and we really wanted to keep that scene in the movie -- was we wanted the audience to understand that this guy is not a bad person, he was just going through a bad thing. You know, sometimes it doesn't work. And it's not a thing you see in movies very often. It's "because he's an alcoholic" or some other reason. Sometimes it just doesn't work and it doesn't work because it changed. And we really wanted to keep that scene in there to show that Ben and Jason [Adam Scott] went through this bummer of an experience, but they're still friends. I'm glad that scene resonated because it as really important to us as filmmakers.
Here is what I find interesting about you... Sorry, that's a weird way to put it. Yes, this is the only thing...
[Laughs] I like it.
When I watch you do interviews about 'Mad Men,' I'm not saying that you don't enjoy doing that... but it's a stark comparison to when you're discussing comedy. It's a whole new Jon Hamm. After 'Mad Men,' is comedy your future? Is that what you would rather be doing?
Well, I do love comedy. I've been a fan of it since I've been a little kid. I mean, I used to check out records from the library like Bob Newhart and George Carlin and Cheech & Chong.
You saw what Robert Smigel and Jimmy Fallon said about you the last time we spoke.
You know, I'd gone on to Hulu and looked up a bunch of those ['The Dana Carvey Show'] sketches a couple of years ago. The one that I remembered laughing at tremendously was the one with Carell and Colbert who are the waiters who were disgusted by food. I think I looked it up because -- do you watch 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'?
I think it was the first season where Dee goes up -- she wants to be a stand up. But every time she tries to tell jokes she gets the dry heaves. [Laughs] She gets so nervous that she gets the dry heaves. I was like, "All right, there's something amazing about somebody that can pull off fake puking really well." To the point that it almost makes you want to puke. And those guys both do it so incredibly well in that sketch.
But those guys think you're very good at comedy, too.
Well, I tend to disagree. I find myself -- I don't find myself funny. I find myself smart enough to stand next to funny people. And I think that goes a long way for me. I look at people -- whether it's Zach Galifianakis or Sarah Silverman or Paul F. Tompkins -- people whose brains are constantly exploring things in a funny way. And I think, "Well, I don't do that." But I certainly can appreciate it. So, fortunately, there's a place for me in that world and I've been asked by very funny people to stand next to them and bathe in the funny. Which is great. Whether it's Tina Fey on '30 Rock' or 'Kristen Wiig in 'Bridemaids' or fill in the blank -- it's been a really nice counterpoint to kind of my day job. Which, while we have a tremendous amount of fun on 'Mad Men,' it's not exactly the lightest fare.
A friend of mine interviewed you at a recent golf tournament at the University of Missouri. His cameraman, who doesn't have cable, asked you for your name for the caption and you said, "Paul Rudd"...
Yeah, I can tell you like doing that. But you later said that kind of thing happens more than you think it does and I found that interesting. So, how well known are you? Because it seems like to certain people you're extremely well known, and others have no clue who you are.
Well, you know, that's the thing. I mean, you know, you look at our show and while it's a certified hit -- it's a successful television show -- and it's certainly done wonders for me and my career, but, you know, if it were on a network, we would have been canceled long ago. I mean, that's the way it goes. And part of it is that many more people have ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX than have AMC. I mean, that's just a strict numbers game. And part of it is just the nature of fractionalization of TV. And it's not just TV, it's kind of media and culture.
Everything is fractionalized at this point. You watch what you like and you can kind of get stuck in that rut. It's hard to jump out of that rut. And it's not dissimilar to politics: you can pay attention to the news that has the spin that you want to hear and really never get off that wavelength. And I think it has lead in many ways to a lot of the partisanships and the crazy kind of polarization that we have. In media it's more like, "Well, it's great because I really like what FX is doing or I really like what AMC is doing." So that kind of flavor will sometimes introduce you to something that you wouldn't normally watch. Like I'm a big 'Game of Thrones' guy.
I really would not have kind of picked that out of a bucket, but it's on HBO and it was on after something and I was like, "Oh, let's give this a shot." And 'Louie' led me into... is it 'Wilfred'?
'Wilfred.' I always keep wanting to say 'Wilber,' but that's not right. So, there you go. That's a great thing. As to your question, I'm as well known as I think I need to be -- that's a double-edged sword.
[Warning: 'Game of Thrones' spoilers]
So, 'Game of Thrones' ... what was your reaction to Ned Stark's beheading?
It was amazing! Alan Taylor directed that episode and he directed the pilot of 'Mad Men.' And I sent him an email and I was like, "Oh my God, that was the coolest thing I've ever seen on TV!" You were expecting at the last minute the girl... or the guy will shoot an arrow, or the bird will swoop down or the wolf or something to come in there to save the day. But it didn't! It was [in a high pitched voice] amazing! And I hadn't read the books so I had no idea.
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