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John Slattery says he passed on 'Empire' role

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Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

With Mad Men under his belt, one might’ve thought John Slattery—the man behind sarcastic office jokester Roger Sterling—would be on the prowl for a role on another TV smash. Either that isn’t the case or Slattery just has bad luck.

In a Daily Beast profile, Slattery explains that Danny Strong, Empire‘s showrunner and occasional Mad Men guest, offered him a role on the FOX drama. “That’s Danny Strong who punches me in the balls!” Slattery says of a particularly memorable moment Sterling shared with Strong’s character, Danny Siegel. “He actually asked me if I wanted to be on Empire, and I think I let that ship sail. I don’t know who I would’ve played… some white dude.”

Of course, Slattery, who appeared in Arrested Development‘s Netflix, will have no shortage of work going forward. He’s already lined up to appear in another Netflix reboot, of Wet Hot American Summer, with his Mad Men pal Jon Hamm. The Daily Beast observed Slattery and Hamm’s camaraderie first hand, too: During an interview with Hamm, a “demented-looking” Slattery interrupted to flip Hamm off and shout, “What’s up, nimrod!”

But for all of Sterling’s wild antics onscreen, Slattery says the character hasn’t influenced his personal life much. “When I was younger, I’d like to have fun and go out in New York,” he reminisced. “These days, I just want to go home and hang out.” Still, Slattery told The Daily Beast he “doesn’t hate a martini”—and wouldn’t answer whether he has, like Sterling, dropped acid in his life.

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