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Q&A – John Slattery (Roger Sterling)

John Slattery talks to about Roger’s transformation and what the future holds for Roger and Don.


Q: If the cast of Mad Men got together again to do another show, what kind of show could you see them doing?

A: Game of Thrones. I would play Peter Dinklage’s father-in-law, the medieval barber… We could all be in leather leggings. It would be great.


Q: Roger has been on quite an odyssey over the last couple of seasons. What would you say is the most surreal Roger moment?

A: The episode where [Mona and Roger] go to get our daughter out of the commune. It’s crazy. It was the first time shooting the show when I got the whole hippie thing. I was a little kid when all that was going on, and I have older sisters and I look back at pictures and remember them dressed like that, but shooting that episode was like a little bit of a fever dream.


Q: Roger negotiated the deal to sell SC&P to McCann. Did it feel like a return to earlier times for your character?

A: I think wherever Roger would go, whether he was sort of an outlier or back in the fold by choice or by necessity, he would be informed by his orbit elsewhere, which is what was so good about all those characters… All the shenanigans and drug-taking and relationships and deals that went belly-up were part of the decision making. And when Bert [Cooper] says to Roger, “You know, you’re not a leader, you’re a child,” basically, Roger takes that as motivation and stands up for his company and becomes a leader.


Q: So in a way, there’s no going back to the way things were in Mad Men

A: It all kind of remains unexpected up until the end, which is all a tribute to [Matthew Weiner]. He never wanted to go over the same ground twice. You know, so many shows do that — you hit a particularly fruitful vein and you just want to keep tapping that well — and he never wanted to do that. He never wanted to go back.


Q: Did you end up with any mementos from the set?

A: I took Roger’s desk lamp. I didn’t steal it. I asked and then I stole it. [Laughs] The only other thing I really coveted but I didn’t take was, there’s a round cigarette plunger — it looks like a roulette wheel, I think — that was in Draper’s office and that was in an episode I directed. In the episode, one of the secretaries picks it up and whips it at Don and it misses his head and hits a photograph and it crashes and everything. She got it in one take. It was amazing, She almost took his head off.


Q: Did saying goodbye to Cooper earlier this season help pave the way for all the goodbyes you had to say at the end of the series?

A: It all seems to be winding up. There’s a whiff of tying up storylines, and this final seven [episodes] does do that. So it’s been kind of a gestation period. It’s going to go away and we’ve had time to get our emotions and our brains around that idea. We finished shooting seven or eight months ago and, as much as I’ll miss it, I’m ready to go do something else.


Q: You’ll be appearing on the Wet Hot American Summer TV show with Jon Hamm. Did you guys slip into “Roger and Don” mode?

A: No. [Laughs] I am anything but Roger in my incarnation in that show. And I didn’t see Hamm’s scene, but I know that who he’s playing isn’t anything like who he is on Mad Men.


Q: Do you think that when Don and Roger are old men, they’ll live in a retirement home together?

A: Making moves on nurses. I think Don would be dragging Roger around. Roger would have had a stroke, and he’ll be typing with his toe and Don will be trying to use him as a sympathy tool.

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