Jon Hamm on the end of 'Mad Men': 'Nothing about it was easy'
The actor sounds off on what he thought of the finale, finally winning that Emmy, and what's next.
We said goodbye to Don Draper and hello to Adele. Doughnuts were licked, and dinos were vanquished. And whether we were getting to know Supergirl or supervillains (looking at you, Robert Durst), 2015 turned our emotions Inside Out. So join us as we revisit the year’s most unforgettable moments—for better or worse. (By the time we’re through, maybe we’ll finally have our invitation to join Taylor’s #squad.) See more Best of 2015 coverage.
It’s been a wild 2015 for Jon Hamm. The 44-year-old actor said goodbye to the character that made him famous when Mad Men ended its seven-season run, won the Emmy for playing said ad man after years of being snubbed, and, on a personal note, sought treatment for alcohol issues and went through a public break-up from his longterm girlfriend. “It’s been a crazy year,” he admits to EW.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We know how fans felt about Mad Men ending this year, but how did you feel about it?
JON HAMM: Did it end? I wasn’t aware it had! Yeah, it was crazy. And it remains crazy because it was so meaningful to my career and my creative life. There’s no way to downplay that. I’ve certainly never had anything like that, and I don’t think the majority of people in my business get an opportunity like that. I hope there’s another chance to do something meaningful, to do something that excited me or inspires me or makes me feel part of the community again. Hopefully. That’s the very long, earnest and unfunny answer to your question.
How hard was it to actually say goodbye to Don Draper?
Nothing about it was easy. It’s the end of a 10-year relationship, not only with this character and this project, but also all these people you’ve worked with for the better part of a decade. You’re used to seeing the same faces everyday at work. It’s a very comfortable place to go. So that part was very sad to say goodbye to. You wonder, will I ever have a situation like this again, where you get to know everybody so well? You just kind of hope you do!
How did you feel about the final season’s ending?
I liked the ending. I thought it was very bold to set Don apart from the rest of the show and split him off into his own storyline. To shoot that was challenging in its own way because I was so alone, but it was very useful for the story. It was cool for Don to really explore this thing, like, my life is completely shattered, so what is he going to do to fix it? Like a lot of people, he finds his way to California and hopefully figures something out.
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What do you think happened to Don after he gave a little smile and the show faded to black?
I think Don’s thing was that he came to a realization of who he is and what he does, and what he does and who he is is everything we’ve been seeing. He’s sort of coming to peace with that. I think he was probably on a plane [to NYC] the next day.
What was it like finally winning the Emmy after all those years?
It was kind of surreal. When I turned around and saw the reaction in the room it was kind of breathtaking. And very surprising and humbling. Then it’s all just kind of a blur. It’s just one of those things. Who knows who will get hot at the right moment? It’s such a strange calculus, but it happened to work out for me in that one moment and I was incredibly honored.
So 2015 was a big year for you in a lot of ways. How would you describe it?
I don’t know if there’s any way to describe 2015. It’s not over yet! But it was a challenging year in a lot of ways, and an exciting year in a lot of ways. Life kind of throws stuff at you, and that’s the way it goes — you have to manage as best you can, and keep on moving forward. There’s obviously a challenge because people always ask you, “What’s next? What are you going to do now?” And it’s like, I don’t know! I don’t really have a grand plan. Stay busy, keep working, pay my bills, have some fun, challenge myself and do interesting things that people hopefully like. But as far as it goes, I’m as good as I could be right now. It’s been a crazy year. That’s as much as I can say.