As much as it pains me to know "Mad Men's" main character, Don Draper, doesn't exist beyond the AMC hit, I must admit Jon Hamm, the man who plays him, seems like someone I'd enjoy chatting with over martinis.
The 39-year-old actor's new interview with Parade shows he's much more willing to open up than his ad man alter ego did for Advertising Age in last Sunday's Season 4 premiere. He's also two other things Don has never been: funny and deeply in love.
In fact, the two men are "quite dissimilar," Jon insists, so he's "able to leave Don Draper at work." This is undoubtedly helpful as he works on other projects, like the upcoming Ben Affleck flick "The Town." "I feel so fortunate to be able to play Don Draper, but I do it 13 hours a year on television," Jon says. "That's plenty." (Debatable, Jon, but please continue.)
The dark-haired hottie goes on to say he was a fan of "Mad Men" from the beginning, but he had doubts about it finding an audience. "I loved the original script, but I thought, 'Who's going to watch this kind of show on some random cable channel?'" Last week's episode pulled in about 2.9 million viewers, and the show is up for its third straight Emmy for Best Drama at the August 29 awards. Jon and five others received acting nods and the crew picked up plenty of props. "I realize how talented our hair and wardrobe people are every time I have to get dressed on my own," he says.
In his Parade photo shoot, the smolderingly sexy star is outfitted in more casual gear than Don's signature suits. Don't worry, though, ladies, because you'll still love the pics, as will Jon's longtime love, "Kissing Jessica Stein" actress Jennifer Westfeldt. Ever humble, Jon quickly dismisses his newly found sex-symbol status. "That kind of stuff is only present if you give it attention," he says. "If it's not reflected back, it goes away. It's not like I'm Justin Bieber or anything."
This is true. Still, the actor reveals that his lack of a perfectly-coifed head of hair hasn't kept fans away. "Jen and I were in Italy this year and we were looking at Michelangelo's sculpture of David when we noticed people staring at us and talking about 'Mad Men.' I thought, 'People, there's a great work of art here, and it's the other way.'" One of his biggest fans is the hilarious Tina Fey, who worked with him on "30 Rock," where a lot of people were surprised at his humor. "He's a huge comedy nerd who loves to quote the movie 'Anchorman' as much as we normal-looking people do," she says.
Although Hamm and Westfeldt have been together since meeting at a party in 1997, they clearly are in no rush to walk down the aisle. "I don't have the marriage chip, and neither of us have the greatest examples of marriages in our families," he says. "But Jen is the love of my life, and we've already been together four times longer than my parents were married." As for children, the actor adds, "I like kids but I also like the option to close the door. Becoming a parent is a whole other life, and it doesn't stop."
Jon's been candid about tapping into memories of his own late father, Dan, who owned a trucking company, as his inspiration for Don. "[His] smoking, drinking, and hard-living ways are pretty much my model," he says. And he sounds perhaps as Don Draper-esque as he ever did in the magazine when talking about his dad and mom dying before their time. "Losing both parents at a young age [his mom died when he was 10, and his dad when he was 20] gave me a sense that you can't really control life -- so you'd better live it while it's here," he explains. "I stopped believing in a storybook existence a long time ago. All you can do is push in a direction and see what comes of it."
Read Jon Hamm's full interview in Parade, in your local Sunday newspaper.