AMC’s “Mad Men” has reinvented television and made household names out of stars like Jon Hamm. So it’s no wonder the cast and crew were reluctant to say goodbye when they premiered the first half of the last season on April 2 at Arclight Hollywood.
Mason Vale Cotton, who plays Hamm’s character’s son Bobby, tag-teamed the red carpet with Robert Morse, frequently stopping interviews to inform journalists that the theater legend is his favorite actor on the show. (Morse only had to coach him a few of those times).
The show has had a considerable impact on fans’ personal wardrobes and home decor — something that even the cast hasn’t been able to escape off screen.
January Jones’ character of Betty Draper Francis became one of the archetypes for this fashion innovation, causing the star to veer to more avant garde looks on the red carpet —Tuesday’s ensemble of an black and electric blue Roksanda Ilincic gown with matching cat eye makeup being no exception.
“I didn’t want to walk around on the street looking like I was in character, which kind of sucked a little bit because I love ‘60s fashion and I used to wear a lot of ‘50s, ‘60s stuff,” said Jones. “But when the show became popular, I kind of had to go the other direction. A little edgier, a little more modern.”
If it makes Jones feel better, the show has even impacted those with less-stylish characters. Rich Sommer, who plays the decidedly unstylish Harry Crane, said he didn’t own a suit before the first season. Jay R. Ferguson grew a beard to play Stan Rizzo. To his wife’s chagrin, he’s stuck with it for the foreseeable future, as the movie role he booked for after “Mad Men” wraps also wanted that look.
The show is notoriously tight-lipped in regards to plot points — Morse wouldn’t even confirm which episode they’re currently filming — and there have been some shockers over the years.
Elisabeth Moss’ career woman Peggy Olson has been the subject of many twists, which puts the actress in a difficult position when it came to her non-work friendships. She said the hardest one to keep quiet was when her character switched jobs at the end of season five.
“People didn’t know if I was going to be on the show anymore,” she said. “It was like, ‘Where are you going? I’m going to work …’”
Similarly, Hamm said it was hard to keep quiet about casting changes.
“We’ve had a lot of people leave the show over the years for various circumstances,” he said. “Those are always hard because you come to something like this and there they are, but they’re not on the show and no one knows.”
With that, Hamm and the rest of the cast were whisked inside the theater to screen the fairly spoiler-heavy first episode of the season before indulging on mini beef sliders, fried chicken and cocktails at an intimate after party at Chateau Marmont.
“Mad Men” returns on April 13.