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Q&A – Rich Sommer (Harry Crane)

 

In this interview, Rich Sommer (Harry Crane on AMC’s Mad Men) discusses partnership at SC&P and his ever-evolving relationship with Don Draper.

Q: Harry’s in talks to become a partner. Congrats! What was your reaction when you found out?

A: Excited. It’s probably not going to change much for me as an actor, but I’ve been rooting for Harry every step of the way and certainly since day one.

Q: You’ve said before you see Harry as a supporting character. Did you hope that aspect of being on the show would change?

A: Not really, no… I know who the show is about and I know Harry’s position in it and I’m very happy with Harry’s position in it. If Harry Crane suddenly kicked everyone out and it suddenly became the Harry Crane Agency, it still would be a show about Don Draper. [Laughs]

Q: What do you think the Harry Crane Agency would look like?

A: It would be full of computers and ascots. It’d be a pretty weird business.

Q: Harry’s been the technology leader for the company since early on. How are you with today’s technology?

A: I’ve always been at least on the curve, if not slightly ahead. I’m a little bit of an early adopter [of technology]… I definitely like to try the new thing, whatever will make things more efficient is where I like to lean. I got started on computers when I was really young. My dad got us a Texas Instruments TI-99/4A and you used an old TV as a monitor and you recorded all programming onto a cassette tape and it was pretty intense. And I think I was probably five when I got that computer, and he and I sort of learned it together.

Q: Do you think you could have operated the IBM 360 if you lived then?

A: Yeah, or at least hired someone that knew how to do it. I think Harry is an idea man, and he’s always been pretty good at delegating when he needed to… I looked [the IBM 360] up when I read the script to see what it would look like, but I didn’t have any first-hand knowledge of a room-sized computer.

Q: The show rents the majority of its props, but if you could take anything from the set, what would you take?

A: The first thought I had was Harry has this little cannon that he plays with all that time… There’s that cigarette dispenser that Don Draper’s had in his office forever that looks like a roulette wheel. And it’s been a focal point of many shots. Like, his secretary in the beginning of Season 4, she threw it at him… I think that would be a cool thing to have.

Q: You’re a big social media guy… What’s the funniest or weirdest thing you’ve ever seen tweeted about your character? About the show?

A: People have lots of theories about where the story is going to go. I spend a lot of time on Reddit too, and I love people’s theories, and it’s very fun to see how wildly, wildly off they are… I always like the theories that start with, “Now hear me out,” because it’s going to be a weird one, so buckle up. As far as Tweeting, someone a few weeks ago put up a picture of Harry Crane next to a picture of Homer Simpson from a flashback from The Simpsons where they look remarkably alike. That one just basically made me happy. He had the sideburns, the big swoopy hair, the plaid sport coat.

Q: It was pretty great when Harry shows up to Megan’s party for her actor friends in L.A. Tell us about shooting that scene.

A: It was a long day, a big group scene with choreography and musicians… And it was my first time being on the set of Megan’s apartment, and it is such a cool set. They just made it look absolutely beautiful and so L.A. It’s always fun getting Harry and Megan in a room together, because we all know that Megan is not Harry’s biggest fan since the “Zou Bisou Bisou” thing where she heard him saying stupid things. And also historically Don has not been Harry’s biggest fan. So I’m sure he had a little pill to swallow when he walked in the room; it was very fun to play.

Q: Harry gave Don the heads-up about the Commander account. How would you describe Harry and Don’s evolution through the seasons?

A: It doesn’t surprise me that Harry Crane would tell Don Draper something that would help him. Harry probably knows somewhere that Don does not like him; he’s sensed that. But there’s no question that Harry looks up to Don incredibly… Don’s the coolest guy in office…and he’s the guy all the young guys have wanted to be since Season 1. So I think Harry realizes he has a chance to sort of help him. And it pays off because at the end of Episode 706, Don says, “Say whatever you want about Harry Crane, at least he’s loyal.” And it’s true. Harry has been very loyal to Don.

Click here to read an interview with Jon Hamm, who plays Don Draper on AMC’s Mad Men.

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