John Hamm on SHREK FOREVER AFTER and MAD MEN Season 4

     May 18, 2010

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Last weekend I participated in a press conference with the entire cast of Shrek Forever After.  In the next day or so I’ll have the transcript and the audio online, but until then, I wanted to get what Jon Hamm said about his role in the new Shrek film and also what he told me about Mad Men season 4 after the press conference ended.  While he was pretty guarded about details on the next season of Mad Men, he did tell me they’re working on the fourth episode right now and “everything has a consequence.”

Hit the jump for what he said and check back for the full press conference:

His Mad Men comments are at the end of the transcript.  I had less than a minute with him and he was very careful about saying too much.  Believe me…I tried my best.  Man Men season 4 starts July 25, 2010 on AMC.

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Question: John, how did you get the role of Brogan?

JH: Wow. I don’t know. I don’t know why the character I play on TV would necessarily lend itself to be the first choice to be an animated character, but I don’t know, I honestly can’t believe I’m sitting up here. But when it came my way and they were still trying to figure out what it was going to be, was it going to be a love interest or a rival or something, they weren’t sure. I was like, “I don’t care, I just want to be a part of it.” I’ve loved the last three versions of this and went and saw all of them in theaters like I was a 13-year-old. So the pure fan of me was like, “I’ll go play somebody who talks backwards, on top of his head, turned around, I don’t even care.” The fact that they were able to work with me, and my personality, and create this person who is sort of this cheerleader of sorts was fun to do.

Would you do another Shrek in 10 years if they decided to do another final?

CD: I’m in. Yeah. It’s easy because you don’t have it—it’s like if somebody asks me if you’re going to do a Charlie’s Angels 10 years from now, I’m like, What?! (laughs) It’s a little bit different fitting in those pants from 10 years ago, but Shrek of course we get to go back to whatever they will be 10 years from now. But hopefully we won’t have to wait that long, Jeffery Katzenberg.

How did you find the transition going from TV to voice acting

JH: It was easier, a lot easier. Certainly a lot less demanding on me. My role in the film isn’t nearly as large as my role in the television show, so that was a lot easier as well. But a whole different kind of acting and being in a scene, when you’re reading opposite people who have other constructed performances that you haven’t necessarily heard. And that again speaks to the incredible competence of the people who put this together, to make that all seem seamless. And I was learning as I went along, as who the character was, find the character, it was changing, as it was changing we would go back in and re-do it and tweak it, and the art involved with who this character was because it was a new character was constantly being shifted and there was notes about this and that, and that was a really fun process to be part of. Because it’s not happening live, it’s sort of deferred until they get it exactly right. And you’re in the hands of people who want it to be excellent, that’s a very comfortable and welcoming feeling. So I tremendously enjoyed it, and it was a really interesting thing to learn on the fly.

shrek_forever_after_movie_posterWhat do you think audiences will learn about love form watching this, what do you love?

JH: I think that we live in a moment in time right now where people have a lot of information about a lot of people kind of instantly, but it’s all sort of surface information and it doesn’t really mean anything. And the things that people were talking about, about what they love and what they hold dear and what they feel strongly about, are things that are kind of unquantifiable, and aren’t on your twitter feed or your Facebook page or your instant message thing or gossip columns or paparazzi photos or things like that. It’s truly getting to know people and understand them and have a relationship with them and trusting them and being vulnerable and all that stuff. I think that’s the journey that Shrek makes, is sort of taking his existence for granted.  We’re all incredibly fortunate people up here, and I love having the opportunity to do what I do, and what I love to do. The idea of taking that for granted and not taking the time out and not appreciating the ability to do that is similar to not appreciating the people that you share your life with or that you love. And that’s what Shrek and Fiona go through and rediscover and this is all very boring and academic, but that’s what I think about it. And I think that’s what really resonates with kids and why it appeals to not just little kids, but the kid in every one of us.

MAD MEN

How has this season been going?

JH: So far so good.  We’re on the fourth episode now. It’s been a lot of work but it’s been very exciting and I hope people like it.

You had a hell of a finale last year.  What was it like for you when you first read the script for the first episode?  As a fan were you curious how they were going to resolve it?

JH: Absolutely.

What do you think fans are going to take away from the episodes you’ve done so far?

JH: Time moves on.  You can’t go back in time. Everything has a consequence, and the last episode of the last season is no exception.

Does this season start right where the last one left off or do you jump ahead a little bit?

JH: You’ll find that out when you see it, but it’s not the next day. That’s all I’ll say.

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