A Sane Q&A with Mad Men's Jared Harris

by Mindy Monez June 22, 2010
The Jared Harris Interview

TWoP: I imagine it's difficult to break into such a tight group.
Harris: It's not that they're not friendly, it's just that you're joining a team that's been playing for an hour and there's twenty minutes left or something. They're really tight with their understanding of each other, and really clear with their character, and you're still trying to figure stuff out.

But the actors were really useful because you'd ask some question about "Well, why am I -- what's this referring to?" and really the best people to go to would be the actors, because they'd go "Oh, well, in Season 1 this happened and that's what this means" and you're like "Oh, shit! Right!" They look at you and they go "Haven't you seen the show?" And you go "Yeah, I have, but I didn't live it. I just watched it." And they'd look at you really suspiciously, like you haven't really done your homework or something.

TWoP: Can you tell us a little about the cast's reactions to the Season 3 finale twist?
Harris: As always they kept it a secret. One of the things that was really noticeable was, they do the read-through, and after the read-through, which is normally at lunchtime, they release the script to the rest of the crew. And I was shooting that day, and it was really telling that every single member of the crew was grabbing whatever spare time they could while we were shooting and they were reading that script to see what was going on. They really were interested, and invested in the story and curious to see what was going to happen. And that isn't often the case. You can be on sets and the crews aren't really that interested.

But I was told that they wanted me to come back at that point, and they handed me the scripts and they said, "You can't tell your agents what's in the script." And I was looking at them going "I think I'm in a pretty good position; go and bargain." But I couldn't tell them that my name's on the door.

TWoP: It must have been exciting to get such a huge character payoff as an actor.
Harris: Yeah! I was happy because Lane as a character was quite dry, and you'd sit at read-throughs throughout the course of the season and there'd be laughs rolling in for all the characters, but nothing for my character at all. And they didn't really get where the humor could come from from the character, but the first big one was "Merry Christmas" when I'm talking to the people back in London and that was a huge laugh. And I tell you, there's nothing an actor likes more than getting a laugh.

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