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Q&A – Mark Moses (Duck Phillips)

Mark Moses spoke with about exhausting himself in a fight with Jon Hamm and learning from Matthew Weiner what Duck was really supposed to be doing in Roger’s office.

Q: When did you find out Duck would be coming back for the fourth season?


A: I found out a little before they started the season. I’m never quite sure when he’s going to come back and what form he’s going to be coming back in, but Matt [Weiner] said they wanted to have Duck back. I think with Duck, you’re never quite sure if he’s gonna be together or if he’s gonna be drinking.

Q: Is it fun to play Duck when he’s embarrassingly drunk? What does your technique entail?

A: It’s interesting, because [in the Clios] episode he had a speech that we played around with quite a bit in post-production, just trying to determine exactly how drunk he was — whether he was slurring drunk or sloppy drunk. We came up with something that’s pretty perfect, but it was trickier than I thought. It’s easier to play totally schnockered than to play just tipsy or kind of drunk.

Q: You get into a brawl with Don in this episode. Is there an art to drunk fighting?

A: Basically, once he threw a punch at me we were just sort of wrestling and grabbing each other’s clothes and throwing punches. It doesn’t come off too neat, like swing, swing, duck, pow, like Batman. Jon’s a strong guy and it was kind of exhausting. At the end of the day we were just beat. I don’t know about Jon, but I was sore the next day.

Q: You’ve said that your father was an ad man on Madison Avenue in the 1960s. Does the show’s depiction of alcohol consumption ring true to you?

A: Yeah, they drank an amazing amount of liquor. He sort of lived in that life and some of his friends eventually died from alcohol-related diseases or smoking-related diseases, passing away earlier than they should have. He was fortunate to have quit smoking in his 50s and he’s in A.A. My dad would wake up at 6 o’clock, splash his face with water and just get up and go. It was a different mentality. People didn’t sleep off hangovers. They got up and drank an Alka-Seltzer and got back to work. Then whenever they needed another drink, they had another drink.

Q: How did you react when you found out you’d have to pull your pants down on camera? Did you get a body double for that scene, or is that really you?

A: It was really me. Initially I thought that Duck was taking a pee on the chair, so I was a little shocked on the day I was there. I don’t know how I misread that — maybe my mind just blanked it out. But Matt said, “Who wouldn’t want to do that to their boss?” It wasn’t really that big of a deal. It was a fun scene to do, but of course the [audience] reaction I have no idea about. I mean, I’ve already shoved a dog out the door. We’ll see.

Q: Duck tries to woo Peggy by sending her business cards with her name on them. What’s the most unconventional thing you’ve ever done to try and win a woman over?

A: That’s a tough one because I’ve been married a long time. Hey Annie? [Calls off to his wife.] What’s the most unconventional thing I’ve done to try to woo you? [Long pause.] One time I sent my wife home in a taxi — before she was my wife, when she was my girlfriend — and then I took another taxi and met her at her apartment. She probably sent me back, but it was a romantic gesture. Unconventional and ridiculously hopeful.

Click here to read an interview with Mark Moses for Season 3.

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