Ryan Thomason

WPR Chats with Jared Harris

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Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce advertising agency, how can I help you today?

If you haven’t seen the latest episode of Mad Men, I suggest you go watch it and then come back and read this quick talk I had with Lane Pryce (Jared Harris) from the show. The episode was surrounding a certain *ahem* development of his character and this is insanely spoilerly. I love doing these quick interviews on the conference calls, but as you can tell, you get a limited time and unless you’re first to go, everyone before you has asked all the questions you had at the top of your list. I did really enjoy the whole call with Jared, he’s a great actor and he was having a good time with everyone.

Jared Harris: Hi Ryan.

WPR: Hi, thanks for talking with me. Well my question is about the seriousness of filming, that hanging scene, for someone like me I probably would have tried to — you know, if everyone was being all quiet — and try and jump up and scare people or something. Was it very serious when you were filming that? Or did you…

Jared Harris: You know, it – I mean, it was serious. I mean, the trouble is that you have so little time to shoot on the schedule. You have eight days to shoot all that stuff. So I mean the whole episode. So I had – it’s similar to what you’re saying. I felt like breaking into song when I was hanging there from the door every time they’d call, “Cut.” But, you know, the actors were trying to maintain a mood and a feeling. And I didn’t want to be disrespectful to how they felt. My job was a lot easier than their job. I just had to hang limply from the door and stick my tongue out, you know. They still had to deliver a performance and their reaction. So but yes I know what you mean. I felt like taking the (pits out of their ear).

WPR: And earlier in the season we got to see you, well Lane kind of stand up for himself

Jared Harris: Yes.

WPR: …when you were fighting Pete Campbell…

Jared Harris: Yes.

WPR: …was that pretty choreographed? Did you guys actually, you accidentally hit each other or anything like that or was it more orchestrated on the fly?

Jared Harris: Oh no it was choreographed. Those things are all incredibly safe, you know. There was no – there were no wayward punches or anything like that. I think, you know, he got more damaged from hitting the side of that table and bouncing off of it than – you know, we – that’s something that you got used to when you were learning stage combat, is how to either fake punches or pull punches. So we were all pretty good from that. The interesting thing about that particular scene was the two different styles of fighting, you know, whereas, you know, Pete had that kind of more recognizable American bob-and-weave style of fighting and that Lane had that sort of old-fashioned upright (picker stance) and, you know, have a jab-like-a-piston type fight.

WPR: Very cool. Thank you very much for talking with us. And maybe we can see you on Downton Abbey now.

Jared Harris: *laughs* Thank you.

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