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By DP30 david@thehotbuttonl.com

DP/30 Emmywatch ’12: Mad Men, actor Christina Hendricks

One Response to “DP/30 Emmywatch ’12: Mad Men, actor Christina Hendricks”

  1. anghus says:

    Easily her best season on Mad Men. In a show that is often about compromise and the struggle to find substance in a world obsessed with surface, Joan became the personification of that struggle.

    Don Draper had always been the centerpiece of that struggle. A man who considered himself to be morally sound in spite of his many failings. The other supporting characters were all at different places on the moral compass. Every year compromise seems to find one of them as each character gets their hands dirty.

    This year we saw Lane cross that line, one that cost him his life. And while Lane had the saddest and most damning arc, it was Joan that had to live with her choice. She had always been the beautiful, seductive icon of this ore-fab time. And even though she had her share of flings, they were always of her choosing. When the firm asks her to do the unthinkable, the choice she makes never feels obvious. And that fantastic scene between Hendricks and John Hamm where he tells her she doesn’t have to do it… and the subsequent scene in the boardroom where he realizes she already had… it’s just brilliant. The entire season was fantastic, but those final few episodes with the Jaguar campaign. As Ginsburg spins that pitch to Don: “At last, something beautiful you can truly own”, and you realize that Joan has now sold her soul for financial security… it’s the kind of writing and acting you’re only going to find on a show like Mad Men.

    On a show with so many good actors, Hendericks really killed it this year. I hope she wins.

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“I was a brat back when I made Pootie Tang. I was dealing with people every day whose pressures I didn’t understand, and I wasn’t very nice about how I said no to them. I put myself in a position I didn’t have to be in. A lot of what makes this kind of stuff work is empathy. If you’re taking money from somebody, they have a right to look after it. It’s all just trying to be clear about the arrangement. That’s why when I set up ‘Louie,’ I just said, ‘This is what I’m comfortable doing, and if you don’t want to do it, I don’t blame you. But in exchange, I’ll take very little money.’ I was only getting $200,000 per show from them, which is insane, and it goes up just by tiny increments every year. The other part of the arrangement with FX is that if this stops working for them, they should just tell me and we’ll stop doing it. Contractually, FX has a right to demand that the scripts be filtered through them before I shoot them, just like any other show. But from the beginning, they haven’t read anything, and they like the show. If I start turning in shit, then they’re going to start asking to see scripts, and that’s perfectly fair.”
~ Louis C. K.

BOMB: Do you give a lot of direction?

ASSAYAS: I give zero indications. Nothing. To me, it’s all physical. It is all about getting the right actors. They understand the part. They’re not idiots. They’re going to sit down, and they’re going to work. They don’t need my explanations. The problem is that actors listen to directors. They respect them. So, when you say something, it becomes gospel. In a certain way, this limits their imagination. I’d rather say nothing. Then, when we shoot, I fix whatever I don’t like. I channel it as softly as I can in a direction where, maybe, there’s something to gain. But, usually, if you are working with the right people, their instinct will be correct. They will bring something of their own to the character, and to the situation. Ultimately, there will be some kind of human truth to what they are doing.
~ Olivier Assayas on directing

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