GQ: There's a video of you giving advice to young girls, but what's the most important piece of wisdom you'd share with a son?
Jon Hamm: I don't know, honestly. Boys are obviously very different than girls. I used to be a teacher, and herding eighth grade children around a classroom is tricky enough, but boys are particularly tricky. So mostly my advice is just to stop talking and be nicer, because they can be both loud and super, super annoying. I don't know...I'm from the Midwest—being polite goes a long way with me.
PR: How did Mad Men come about?
JH: It was amazing. I read the script, and it was for AMC, and I thought, "They've never done anything that's remotely like a TV show, so what's that going to be like?" I read the script for Mad Men and I loved it. Then I realized that a guy who wrote for The Sopranos, Matt Weiner, created it, so I thought, "Okay, that's pretty cool." But I never thought they'd cast me-I mean, I thought they'd go with one of the five guys who look like me but are movie stars. Obviously, they didn't. I literally had to go through six or seven auditions. They flew me to New York to meet all the people at AMC. My final audition was at that bar on the roof of the Hotel Gansevoort. When we were riding down on the elevator, the woman in charge of whatever the decision-making process was told me, "You got the job."
PR: I would imagine you were fairly elated.
JH: Yeah. Hugely.
"It's funny, right? Kind of this weird synergy," Hamm says, alluding to the fact that the role he's most identified with—Don Draper, the powerful and powerfully conflicted master of advertising on AMC's Mad Men—has now led to an actual gig selling cars.
"It's strange, but it's good for me. I vote yes."
I have a lady, she's a great lady. I love her a lot, she loves me. We're on the same page. Whenever that day happens when we're not on the same page we'll move forward with it. We're interested in having our lives be our lives right now and not a third person's vis-à-vis marriage and whatever that means. - on his relationship with long-time girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt.
"[I lived in] L.A. for 10 years, not working, having no money and no prospects. The days were kind of great; it was the long nights staring at the ceiling waiting for the phone to ring," he remembered. "The uncertainty is always the difficult part, at least it has been for me."
With his years of unemployment behind him, Hamm now completely trusts "Mad Men" creator Matt Weiner -- who has managed to nab 15 Emmys in the show's five seasons -- to take Don in any direction he wants.
PAUL RUDD: You and I have known each other for about 20 years.
JON HAMM: That's a lot of hairstyles.
PR: What would you say was your most treasured hairstyle during that time?
JH: I had a pretty serious mullet back in the day. We both had long hair for a while. You had the Michael Hutchence.
PR: I was greatly inspired by INXS. Now, you were a St. Louis Cardinals fan growing up, obviously, because you're from St. Louis.
Became interested in acting in the first grade, when he was handpicked to play Winnie-the-Pooh. Received a scholarship to study acting at the University of Missouri.
Worked as a day-care teacher during college and, before moving to Hollywood, was a high school teacher.
In school he played sports as much as he acted—but something kept drawing him back to performing. As he puts it, "I never minded standing up and looking like an idiot, which is tremendously helpful in this industry and not so much in others."
Hamm was born on March 10, 1971, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Deborah, a secretary, and Daniel Hamm, who ran a decades-old family trucking company that declined due to the growth of container shipping. Hamm's parents divorced when he was two years old, and he lived with his mother in Creve Coeur, Missouri, until she was diagnosed with terminal cancer when he was 10. Hamm moved in with his father, but after a few years his father became ill and died when Hamm was 20. Teachers and friends' parents filled in as parental figures.
Jonathan Daniel "Jon" Hamm (born March 10, 1971) is an American actor who works primarily in television. For much of the mid-1990s, Hamm lived in Los Angeles as a struggling actor appearing in small parts in multiple television series, including Providence, The Division, What About Brian and Related. In 2000 he made his feature film debut in Clint Eastwood's space adventure, Space Cowboys. The following year, Hamm appeared in the independent comedy, Kissing Jessica Stein (2001) in a minor role.