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Movies

Jon Hamm opens up about his bank-robbing Baby Driver character

He’s a guy who has made ‘terrible choices’ says the former ‘Mad Men’ star

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Wilson Webb/Sony

When EW meets Jon Hamm on the Atlanta set of director Edgar Wright’s new crime thriller Baby Driver (out June 28) the Mad Men star is sporting a temporary neck tattoo which reads “Hers” to play the role of an armed robber named Buddy. The “Her” in question is the character of Darling, Buddy’s literal partner-in-crime, who is portrayed by Eiza González.

“Eiza’s character has one that says ‘His,'” says Hamm. “It’s sort of our little nod to each other. That says it all about my character too. He’s one of those guys that’s probably too old to have tattoos, too old to be dressed the way he does. But he has a very young girlfriend who has convinced him into making terrible choices.”

Those choices include teaming up with a crime boss, played by Kevin Spacey, whose other employees include the titular Baby (Ansel Elgort), a getaway driver stricken with tinnitus who blasts music to drown out the ringing in his ears. This latest movie from Wright, whose previous credits include Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, also stars Jon Bernthal, Lily James, Jamie Foxx, and Flea, among others.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tell us about your character.
JON HAMM: Buddy is — crime is his avocation, I guess is the best way to put it. He’s sort of a visitor to the crime world and thinks he has it all dialled-in, and in reality probably isn’t as good as he thinks he is at it. And of course, things tend to go pear-shaped rather quickly and these guys get twisted up into Baby’s world. It’s been fun. It’s been a lot of fun stuff.

I was told you took part in a table read for the film several years ago.
Many moons ago. I think I had just met Edgar, and professed my fandom, and he mentioned that he had something percolating, I was like, “Well, I’m totally available!” [Laughs] So, yeah, it was a long long time ago. Almost everyone was different in the room. But I knew that it was a cool idea, you know. It was like this idea of a cops and robbers movie, sort of set to music, and choreographed. I thought it was a very cool thing if they could get it to work, and knowing Edgar’s incredibly visual vocabulary, and meticulous preparation, and imagination, I was like, “Well, he’s the perfect guy to do it.” So, when Ant-Man went the way Ant-Man went, I think this opened up a hole in his schedule and he had this pretty far down the line development-wise, and everyone thought, like I did, that it was a pretty cool idea. So here we are!

What’s the car stuff been like?
I love it. You know, it’s super fun to get to drive recklessly, and dangerously, when it’s safe, you know what I mean? It’s a bit like doing one of those Formula-1-guy-for-a-day things when you get to drive a supercool car on a track and it’s all safe. It’s like that. We got to drive a lot with the stunt guys on a big open expanse — slide ’em, and spin ’em, and shred some tires, and roll over some cones.

Who’s the best driver?
Well, I’ve only seen me drive, really. So, I’m gonna go ahead and say me! But honestly, our stunt driver, Jeremy Fry, is unbelievable. I watched him do a 360 degree drift around me for like three revolutions. He just kept the drift the whole time. I was like, ‘That is so cool!’ [Laughs] I was literally watching like a kid.

Watch the trailer for Baby Driver, below.

Baby Driver is out June 28.