John Slattery wanted to play Don Draper—until he saw Jon Hamm in the role

John Slattery wanted to play Don Draper on Mad Men
John Slattery wanted to play Don Draper on Mad Men

Jon Hamm and John Slattery in Mad Men

It’s hard to imagine anyone but Jon Hamm playing Don Draper, or anyone but John Slattery playing Roger Sterling, for that matter. But of course, Mad Men has a classic Hollywood “Wait, he originally auditioned for that role?” story behind it. Slattery revealed the truth in a new interview with The Independent, in which he admits that his initial desire for the lead role almost caused some friction between himself and his new co-star.

Slattery recalls being brought in to read for Don at his Mad Men audition and feeling “bruised” when producers then asked him to read for Roger. “They said, ‘Here’s the thing–we have this guy.’ [Hamm] claims I was in a bad mood the whole time we shot the first episode because of this, but I don’t think that’s true.” He adds, “Eventually I saw him, and I was like… ‘Oh—they sure do have that guy.’”

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There are obviously no hard feelings between Slattery and Hamm. In fact, Slattery is currently doing press for Confess, Fletch despite only being in it “for five minutes” because he felt he “owed” his buddy Hamm (currently busy on the set of The Morning Show) for starring in his upcoming directorial effort, Maggie Moore(s).

As such, he’s totally willing to wax poetic about the Don Draper days. “When Hamm walked into a room in that get-up, people would just go catatonic. Guest stars would sometimes walk up to him and their lines would go right out of their heads. They just wouldn’t know what to do. It happened on more than one occasion.” Hamm wasn’t the only one, Slattery says: “Christina Hendricks would walk into the room and people would s*** themselves—it was amazing.”

And yeah, Roger got his fair share of love as well. “Well… we were all sort of curated. The look of it. I’m not being false humble, either. In that get-up, I certainly looked different to how I do walking around every day.”

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