It’s being billed as “the end of an era,” and for AMC the farewell of “Mad Men” certainly is.
When the series premiered on July 19, 2007, AMC was a small basic cable channel that specialized in old theatrically released movies. The success of “Mad Men” paved the way for more original programming, with “Breaking Bad” and “The Killing” following in its wake. It also put AMC on the map as a serious player in scripted series.
Naturally, it’s also the end of an era for cast members Jon Hamm, Christina Hendricks, January Jones, Vincent Kartheiser, Elisabeth Moss, John Slattery and others, many of whom made their names working on “Men.” For them, it’s on to new projects, a well-deserved break and looking back on a series that to date has won 15 Emmy Awards — including four for outstanding drama series — and garnered 105 nominations.
At a recent gathering of TV critics in Pasadena, Calif., cast members looked back on the critically acclaimed series that premieres the first of its final seven episodes on Sunday (April 5).
“There’s no version of this ending that is not super painful for me,” says series star Hamm, who plays alpha ad man Don Draper, “and mostly it’s because of (his fellow cast members and creator Matt Weiner) because they’ve been the single constant in my creative life for the last decade. So that’s kind of tough. And, yeah, I will be happy when the shows air and I won’t have to fake like I don’t know how it ends or make up some ridiculous story about robots or zombies or something. But I will never be able to have this again, and that’s a drag.”
For Jones, who plays Don’s ex-wife Betty Francis, reading the script for the finale packed an emotional punch.
“I got it at home,” she says. “So I read it alone at home. … And it was very hard. It was very emotional. I kind of knew a little bit of what was going to happen in the last script, but it was — I mean, the whole last few weeks, I was just a mess pretty much. Everyone will tell you.
“Anything made me cry,” she continues. “So it was hard. It’s a beautiful story. It’s perfect in a way, and I read it over and over. I didn’t want it to be the last time. So sometimes I still read every once in a while … .”