Jon Hamm 'Gave Back 60 Percent' of His Confess, Fletch Salary to Complete the Film, Director Says

·4 min read
Jon Hamm attends a special screening of Miramax's "Confess, Fletch" at The West Hollywood EDITION
Jon Hamm attends a special screening of Miramax's "Confess, Fletch" at The West Hollywood EDITION

Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Paramount Worldwide Jon Hamm

Jon Hamm's latest movie is a passion project.

The Mad Men alum, 51, "gave back 60% of his salary" from Confess, Fletch — a decision he made when it became clear the needs of the project would exceed the budget, according to director Greg Mottola.

"I gave back some of my salary — not as much as Jon, because he's richer than me and I've got three kids," Mottola joked in an interview with Uproxx published Thursday. "And we bought three more days of shooting. We got it up to 30 days in Boston and one day in Rome. And we said, 'F--- it, we're insane, we're dumb. We're going to make this movie.' "

The filmmaker behind Superbad and Adventureland, 58, added that it was a challenge to get the movie made in the first place. But Hamm was a lifelong fan.

"Unbeknownst to Miramax, Jon, when he saw the first [Fletch movie] back in the day, he went to read the book it was based on because he loved it so much and then found out, oh, there's more than one," Mottola explained. "And he, according to him, stole them — whatever copies there were — from a Waldenbooks at a mall. A shoplifter."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human-interest stories.

Jon Hamm and John Slattery Have Mad Men Reunion in Trailer for ‘Confess, Fletch’
Jon Hamm and John Slattery Have Mad Men Reunion in Trailer for ‘Confess, Fletch’

Paramount Movies/YouTube Confess, Fletch (2022)

RELATED: Jon Hamm Tries to Solve a Murder in Confess, Fletch Trailer — with Mad Men Costar John Slattery

So the two set out to make the film they truly wanted, by self-funding and fighting for the tone and style they wanted. And when they were finished, there was no money left to market it.

"Jon and I were like, 'I think there's an audience for this.' And then we were told, 'No, we don't think so,' " Mottola said. "We got a lot of, 'Yeah, in a different time, a couple of years ago, we would've bought this, but we're making our own stuff and we don't need it.' "

Mottola said he took over the script, and changed it to a "comedy of manners" that was "very talky" instead of being a slapstick comedy.

"I was very intentionally not putting in the things that I see a lot of in comedy today, which is a lot of pop-culture references," he said.

The result? "I think we actually cracked it," Mottola added. "I wanted it to feel a little more adult and a little more character-dialogue-driven, which is just something I love. And I see a lot of things that make me laugh, but often take place purely in comedy worlds."

Jon Hamm and John Slattery Have Mad Men Reunion in Trailer for ‘Confess, Fletch’
Jon Hamm and John Slattery Have Mad Men Reunion in Trailer for ‘Confess, Fletch’

Paramount Movies/YouTube Confess, Fletch (2022)

RELATED: Jon Hamm Says He's "Very Much" in Love with Anna Osceola, and Marriage and Kids Are a "Possibility"

The original Fletch starred Chevy Chase in 1985, and Mottola said there was a discussion about whether to bring Chase, 78, back.

"I'm also personally a little tired of movies that rely too heavily on nostalgia. Plus, there wasn't a great role for him," the director explained. "We didn't want to just walk through the movie and distract everyone. If I wanted him to be in it, I wanted to give him something really good to do."

The trailer for the comedy shows Hamm as semi-retired journalist Irwin M. Fletcher who becomes involved in the investigation of an art heist.

After being told he is not a detective, Fletcher, a.k.a. Fletch, replies, "I was an investigative reporter. It's an occupation that's been cheapened by the digital age, like president."

The film also stars Roy Wood Jr., Annie Mumolo, Ayden Mayeri, Lorenza Izzo, Kyle MacLachlan and Marcia Gay Harden. John Slattery, Hamm's former Mad Men costar is also in the film in a similar dynamic to the one they shared in the AMC drama: as Hamm's boss.

In a previous interview with Entertainment Weekly, Mottola discussed reviving the relationship between Frank (Slattery, 60) and Fletch.

"This is essentially the same character who was Fletch's editor in the first Fletch movie, played by Richard Libertini," he said. "They have a love-hate relationship."

Hamm suggested Slattery for the part in the film, according to Mottola. Mad Men ran for seven seasons between 2007 and 2015.

"I'd met John over the years, and I really, really enjoy him as an actor, so I loved the idea," he explained. "It was actually the first day of shooting all of their stuff, and it was a great first day because those guys have such a shorthand that they just immediately fell into a very funny, enjoyable rhythm."

Confess, Fletch is now in theaters and on digital.