Jon Hamm, January Jones, and Christina Hendricks all gathered for the release of Weiner's 'Mad Men' book.
It’s been almost two years since Mad Men signed off the air after seven seasons, who knows how many packs of cigarettes, and an extremely dissected final scene. Now, key members behind the legendary series have reunited in honor of one mammoth book.
Thursday night served as a de facto Mad Men reunion, with Jon Hamm, January Jones, and Christina Hendricks among the cast members who assembled at the Los Angeles unveiling of Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men — creator Matthew Weiner and Taschen Books’ tribute to the beloved AMC series.
Weiner, who first began contemplating ideas for a book when the show was in its third season, has been working on it for more than six years, though he’s eager to point out that Taschen did most of the heavy lifting. “They know how to make a book,” he told EW at the event, held at Taschen’s store in Beverly Hills. “And I was really interested in what they thought was important about the show and what they thought would be an experience — not only for people who love the show and wanted to see it slowed down and frozen in time, but also for people who don’t know the show at all. So you can almost get a pure aesthetic experience.”
The massive two-volume collection features stills, key script excerpts, interviews with Weiner and Hamm, plus behind-the-scenes insight, including the creator’s notes dating back to 1992 and a promise from Weiner that by the end, readers will understand where the idea for Mad Men came from.
Weiner is quick to shoot down any presumptions that working on the book helped ease the pain of ending the show. But he says that moving on to a new series, a secret Amazon project that he isn’t ready to discuss, has helped him realize that Mad Men will always be there, especially when he can’t help but channel his iconic lead character.
“I’m never going to be tired of talking about the show,” he said. “I’m not beyond it. I will never be over it. I will never be tired of what I feel like was not only an incredible part of my life, but creatively I know that I was so fulfilled making the show. And what I really miss is all the people I made the show with. That magical chemistry over all those years. What you really get — not to be Don Draper about it — but you really get a sense of nostalgia. And there’s a certain point where it starts to feel like someone else did it. You can see it.”
It’s how he tried to experience the show’s final episode, in which Draper’s moment of zen led to the classic “Buy the World a Coke” ad. Though Mad Men‘s ending wasn’t met with the kind of vitriol and debate that followed The Sopranos and Lost finales, it did launch a barrage of think-pieces.
“Honestly, I didn’t pay attention to anything after the finale,” he admitted. “I saw the finale at a theater downtown at the Ace Hotel [in Los Angeles] with 1600 people, and they all burst into tears at the same time. I don’t know if they were relieved that no one died, or if it was the just the experience of how it worked. But for the first time in my life, I decided, ‘That’s going to be my experience.'”
Weiner said he didn’t read much into the ongoing critical analysis that came with the popularity of the series, but he has recently found a new critic in his own house. His 18-year-old has started watching Mad Men for the first time, and after only a few episodes, he turned to his dad and said, “So sad.”
Laughing, Weiner responded, “You think that’s sad, just wait.”