And there’s this hideous thing they make you do when you go up for a television show: they make you sign a contract before you walk into the final audition. The last thing they want is for you to have everyone fall in love with you, and then you not have a deal in place. So you sign this thing – and I had no money; I was broke. You’re staring at the five-figure pay cheque you’ll get… if… If! A crazy amount of money for someone who has none. So I was thinking: I’ll pay my loans off and do this and that and maybe get my car fixed… and by that time they’re calling you in, you’re like: ‘Shit! I have to do the scene! What the fuck are the lines?’ I would get hung up on that stuff and be an utter failure in the room.”
Hamm displays an admirable amount of self-awareness in this interview, promoting his new feature film The Town (directed by Ben Affleck). Part of Hamm’s success as Don Draper is the tiny amount of “I can’t quite believe this is happening to me” he manages to project.
Hat-tip to The Story Department.