Jon Hamm & Blake Lively

Jon Hamm & Blake Lively

Jon Hamm and Blake Lively are back on the big screen this week as they join forces for Ben Affleck's new movie The Town.

- Blake, can you describe what Ben Affleck is like as a director as well as a fellow castmember? 

Blake Lively: Well, for me, the experience of Ben as a director was more in pre-production, before we actually started shooting, because he did so much work in finding all of these wonderful resources for us from the women that we got to spend time with, to the places that these people go, to just references and clippings. 

He had this well of knowledge for us to tap into if we wanted, all these resources. He’s so hardworking beforehand and really militant about getting the character down and getting the accent down.

Understanding the people, the roots, where they come from, and also just their attitude was such an important thing, like how they would respond to a detective versus one of their friends. 

And then, when we were on set, it was just such a comfortable world that we were just able to step into and lose ourselves. 

That’s more when I got to experience Ben as an actor.  I never really felt like he was there directing me and judging me, but rather we were just creating this together.

- For Blake and Jon, you’re both in successful TV series.  How do you choose what kind of film project to do? 

Jon Hamm: I don’t have any sort of calculus to choosing a film.  I just responded to the story and really wanted to play the character. I read a very, very early version of the script. 

Once Ben signed on, I became much more interested.  I’m a massive fan of his first film and a massive fan of this one. 

I just try to pick parts that somehow inspire me creatively, and I want to work with people whose work I respect and admire.  And both of those boxes were checked in for this project. 

Blake: I think the biggest difference for us is that we’re on a TV show. Mine actually kind of goes a lot longer, ten months out of the year, so the roles that you can do are so few, so it has to be something that you really want to do, or you just want the time off. 

When you find a role that you’re passionate about, that’s something that you have to play; and this was one of them for me.

- It was an interesting role for you.  How did that come about? 

Blake: I read the script.  It was a terrific part.  It was a part that I was wrong for, probably, in more ways than I was right for, but I selfishly really wanted to play it because I just loved it so much, so I pursued the part and here I am.

- Jon, can you tell me a little bit about the research that you did for this and how your life has changed since the success of Mad Men?

Jon Hamm:  Researching the character, it was a tremendous advantage to be able to hang out and talk to several of the law enforcement officials in Boston; at the federal, state and local level. 

What they do is a tremendous achievement; it’s a collaborative effort between all three levels of law enforcement. 

They do amazing work.  There are a lot of robberies in Boston and a lot of them get solved because of these guys’ hard work. 

So, it was nice to see from the inside how clear their objective is.  Their job is to stop bad people from doing bad things; they’re very clear on that.  That was very helpful to me. 

My life has changed significantly since the success of Mad Men, and it’s been a very exciting ride and a very strange time.  Strange times, indeed. 

But I get to work with some tremendous people, and opportunities come a little easier now that the profile has gotten a little broader, so I’m just very fortunate and very happy.

- What advice were you given early on that you found was really wrong or really right?

Jon:  None of us would be here if we didn’t have fairly thick skin. As an actor, especially a struggling actor, starting off, you get rejected more often than you get accepted, and my road to this table was probably a lot longer and a little more twisted than some.  Most of acting is about being rejected. 

So, I’m sure everyone has a story of walking into an audition room and just failing horribly, and I’m certainly no exception.

- Jon, given the success of Ben Affleck, do you have any aspirations to work behind the scenes as a writer, producer, director, or anything else?

Jon: I can’t write.  I can’t focus long enough.  I find it terrifying.  My girlfriend, of now going on thirteen years, is a writer and producer, and now a director.  She has her first feature in the fall.  And she’s an accomplished actress as well. 

But I watch her do that stuff and I just don’t have the focus.  I don’t know how you focus like that.  I have the attention span of like a hopped-up squirrel.  I can’t focus on one thing longer than anything else.

- Blake, what’s the difference in doing a movie like this as opposed to your upcoming movie, Green Lantern, which is more CG heavy and fantastical? Do you approach the material the same?  Do you prefer one over the other?

Blake: It’s entirely different.  It’s a whole different art.  You know, when you’re doing a movie where the world is ending around you, or outer space is crumbling around you, you’re in a big studio with big, blue walls. 

Whereas in this, you’re in a scene in a real bar in Charlestown, which Ben filled with real ex-cons.  They were telling me, ‘Oh, yeah, yeah, I lived in LA for eighteen years.  I didn’t see it though.’  I said, ‘Why not?’  ‘I was in prison.  I just got out two months ago.’  ‘Oh great.’ 

So, you’re so much more in touch with the world you’re a part of and you have a greater sense of what it’s going to be like and what you’re actually doing. 

Whereas with a film like Green Lantern, so much of the movie takes places once my work is done in the next six months.  At least half of that movie is going to come together, so the viewing experience will definitely be different.

The Town is in cinemas 24th September

Jon Hamm and Blake Lively are back on the big screen this week as they join forces for Ben Affleck's new movie The Town.

- Blake, can you describe what Ben Affleck is like as a director as well as a fellow castmember? 

Blake Lively: Well, for me, the experience of Ben as a director was more in pre-production, before we actually started shooting, because he did so much work in finding all of these wonderful resources for us from the women that we got to spend time with, to the places that these people go, to just references and clippings. 

He had this well of knowledge for us to tap into if we wanted, all these resources. He’s so hardworking beforehand and really militant about getting the character down and getting the accent down.

Understanding the people, the roots, where they come from, and also just their attitude was such an important thing, like how they would respond to a detective versus one of their friends. 

And then, when we were on set, it was just such a comfortable world that we were just able to step into and lose ourselves. 

That’s more when I got to experience Ben as an actor.  I never really felt like he was there directing me and judging me, but rather we were just creating this together.

- For Blake and Jon, you’re both in successful TV series.  How do you choose what kind of film project to do? 

Jon Hamm: I don’t have any sort of calculus to choosing a film.  I just responded to the story and really wanted to play the character. I read a very, very early version of the script. 

Once Ben signed on, I became much more interested.  I’m a massive fan of his first film and a massive fan of this one. 

I just try to pick parts that somehow inspire me creatively, and I want to work with people whose work I respect and admire.  And both of those boxes were checked in for this project. 

Blake: I think the biggest difference for us is that we’re on a TV show. Mine actually kind of goes a lot longer, ten months out of the year, so the roles that you can do are so few, so it has to be something that you really want to do, or you just want the time off. 

When you find a role that you’re passionate about, that’s something that you have to play; and this was one of them for me.

- It was an interesting role for you.  How did that come about? 

Blake: I read the script.  It was a terrific part.  It was a part that I was wrong for, probably, in more ways than I was right for, but I selfishly really wanted to play it because I just loved it so much, so I pursued the part and here I am.

- Jon, can you tell me a little bit about the research that you did for this and how your life has changed since the success of Mad Men?

Jon Hamm:  Researching the character, it was a tremendous advantage to be able to hang out and talk to several of the law enforcement officials in Boston; at the federal, state and local level. 

What they do is a tremendous achievement; it’s a collaborative effort between all three levels of law enforcement. 

They do amazing work.  There are a lot of robberies in Boston and a lot of them get solved because of these guys’ hard work. 

So, it was nice to see from the inside how clear their objective is.  Their job is to stop bad people from doing bad things; they’re very clear on that.  That was very helpful to me. 

My life has changed significantly since the success of Mad Men, and it’s been a very exciting ride and a very strange time.  Strange times, indeed. 

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