Christina Hendricks recently promised that the “s—” was going to hit the fan on last night’s SundanceTV crime drama Hap and Leonard — and it turned out the Mad Men actress was not lying. The latest episode in this Joe Lansdale adaptation was pretty much wall-to-wall mayhem, and the most jaw-dropping scene found Jimmi Simpson’s psychotic Soldier attempting to find out where Hendricks’ Trudy had hidden a fortune in stolen cash by hammering a nail through her hand and into a table. Yee-ouch!
Below, Hendricks talks about the scene and teases next week’s season 1 finale.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What did you think when you first read that scene in the script?
CHRISTINA HENDRICKS: Oh, I thought fantastic! [Laughs] Well, I’ve never done that before! It’s these outbursts of violence in these strange situations that I think make Joe Lansdale’s material really interesting, and jarring, and gives them the flavor that they have. So, I loved that I got to be a part of one of those moments.
Talk me through shooting the scene.
Well, it was all. Day. Long. And I had to have that reaction over, and over, and over again. I was quite hoarse and nauseous by the end of the day — having to go through the feeling of fear and torture that long was pretty rough. And then I found out that they had to reshoot a couple of scenes because they didn’t get it right! [Laughs.] So, I had to do it again on another day. Yeah, so it was brutal. I have to say, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
Your character comes out of the scene seeming like the bravest but also maybe the craziest person in the room —and that room is not short of crazy.
[Laughs] Yeah. Well, I think based on her history — which you get tidbits of in the previous episodes, the long string of men that she’s left behind, and recreating herself over and over and over — you sense that there’s some unstable nature to this woman, and you don’t really know how it’s going to manifest itself. And Trudy feels like this is her final shot. She says it a couple of times: “I’ve tried, and I’ve tried, and I’m always failing at something, and I really want to follow through with this.” And I think she’s willing to die for it, finally.
Between takes, were you all cracking jokes or were you staying in character?
No, I don’t think there was anyone who was doing any sort of method acting on that. That would be quite terrifying. I think we were all consoling each other between each take, making sure everyone had all their limbs, and wasn’t too bruised, and wasn’t too scraped up, and trying to keep it together.
Did they have to glue your hand to the table after Soldier hammered the nail into Trudy? How did that work?
When it was on the table it was just a nail glued to the top and I had to pretend it was nailed to the table.
[Laughs] Yes, it is! And then once Trudy is able to pull her hand up off the table, then it was one of those magic trick things where one side was held together with a little hook that wrapped around your palm, and then we just had to keep covering it in blood so you couldn’t see the little hook.
In the latter sections of the episode, you got to take part in some full-on action sequences. What was that like?
It was hard! You just have to throw yourself into it as naturally as possible, and I did it with gusto. I actually did fall on my face, and afterwards everyone was like, “That was a great take! Let’s move on!” And I looked around and said, “Does anyone want to ask me if I’m okay? Because I fell on my face.” But I picked myself up and continued the scene, so they thought that I was just a really great stuntwoman.
At least you had comfortable clothing. The outfit Pollyanna McIntosh was wearing looked like it would have been testing to put on and get off.
That’s got a lot of stretch, mind you. [Laughs] It was almost more like a really bizarre yoga outfit. But she looked amazing in it.
Could you tease next week’s finale?
Ooh. I’m trying to think of how I would tease it without giving anything away. You’d think I would be good at that at this point.
You were on Mad Men for seven seasons.
Well, exactly! I had to be so tight-lipped for so long, now I’m terrified I’m going to say something wrong. I would say, Things get wrapped up — and indicate the possible next caper.
What do you have coming up?
Gosh. I just did the next season of Another Period, and I just finished a film called Fist Fight, and a film called Pottersville, and a film called Bad Santa 2, so they should all be coming out in the next year.
You can see a portion of the Soldier/Trudy face-off from last night’s episode, above.