Mad Men starts again tonight and will once again see Jon Hamm throw on the suit that fits him so well and take us back to the sixties and make the world of advertising look far more exciting than it has any right to be.
Don Draper has become an iconic character, the personification of sixties chauvinism but so utterly riddled with charm that it’s impossible to hold any grudge against the womanising drunk. Hamm is also magnificent in the role, seeing him picking up a Golden Globe, along with countless other nominations.
Quick question though, how often do you see anything related to Jon Hamm referring to him as Don Draper? If you answered less than 90%, then you’re one of the lucky ones. While Draper has turned Hamm into a household name, will he ever be able to escape Don’s show when he finally decides to put own the whiskey glass once and for all?
It’s not only Jon Hamm though, as actors have always had their careers dominated by a major character of they let it be. Look back through history, Mark Hamill never stopped being Luke Skywalker to many, Kristen Stewart will always be Bella to millions and Harold Perrineau still gets shouts of “Walt!” at him every day, despite Lost being off the air three years ago.
If Hamm wants to give himself a full an vibrant career after Mad Men finally runs its course, then he needs to start accepting roles that don’t have him wearing a suit and not being an manipulative but brilliant arse. He made good start in The Town, although in Bridesmaids he basically played an exaggerated version of Draper. Taking on the role of a back stabbing and successful marketing executive in HBO’s upcoming ‘Clear History’ might not be the biggest of departures, even if this is a far more comedic production.
Look at what’s happened with Bryan Cranston. While he’s now the first choice to for villain gigs around Hollywood thanks to his brilliant role on Breaking Bad, Cranston’s been able to choose enough different roles that he’s been able to differentiate himself from Walter White. He may have appeared in nearly every film over the last couple of years, but none of his part there had him with a shaved head and a talent for crime.
It’s clear that Hamm isn’t a one performance man. Anyone who’s seen him goof around on Saturday Night Live or Children’s Hospital can testify to that and this will be a massive point in his favour. He’ll need all of this skill if he’s to make himself a star after the doors of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce close for the last time.