NEW YORK — The final episodes have yet to air but the long goodbye has already begun for the cast and creator of the much lauded “Mad Men.”
The four-time Emmy winner for best drama returns for its last seven episodes on AMC on April 5 and Saturday night stars Jon Hamm, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, and John Slattery joined creator Matthew Weiner to screen favorite clips at an event hosted by Film Society Lincoln Center at Alice Tully Hall.
The actors and Weiner each selected pivotal and personally meaningful scenes from throughout the show’s run and shared behind-the-scenes stories with a packed-in audience and moderator Chuck Klosterman.
Among the nuggets shared were the moments viewers first learned of the affair between wry ad man Roger Sterling (Slattery) and secretary Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks), the moment Don (Hamm) came clean to Betty (Jones) about his double life as Don Draper/Dick Whitman, and the night that Joan made a very personal sacrifice in order to secure Jaguar as a client.
Although the clip wasn’t shown there was an extended discussion of the episode that included Sterling wearing blackface — something the show made clear it was criticizing. Weiner recalled that Slattery said to him “This is the last day of my career” and Hamm quipped, “The blackface was my idea.”
Hendricks — whom Slattery also directed in the 2014 film “God’s Pocket” — talked about their instant chemistry as actors and the “delicious relationship” their characters had. And she and Hamm both recalled the elaborate choreography of the pilot episode when each of their characters had intricate bits of business to do while delivering their lines. Hamm reminisced that his scene partner Slattery “was waiting for me, like a dog waiting for a treat, for me to [mess] up.”
True to his secretive nature, when Weiner mentioned there were several story lines that had been devised but never made their way into the show and Klosterman asked for an example, Weiner was mostly mum, but he did reveal that he considered killing off Slattery’s character during the first season since the actor had another job competing for his time and Weiner wasn’t sure if he wanted to stay with the show. Judging by the look on his face, this was news to Slattery.
Weiner also mused that it was odd for him not to be constantly thinking about the show anymore, saying he recently had an idea and was looking around for a notepad. Jones and Hendricks seemed eager to hear what the idea was but Weiner joked that it was for Tony Soprano, referring to his pre-“Mad Men” sojourn as a writer on “The Sopranos.”
The evening came to a close with Weiner giving thanks to the fans who supported the show.