'Mad Men' Season 6 interview: January Jones on relating to Don Draper and Betty's fundamental unhappiness

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january-jones-mad-men-season-6-betty-draper-amc.jpgIs there a more divisive character on "Mad Men" than January Jones' Betty Draper? Everyone on the show has done something less than saintly at some point, but some viewers seem to judge Betty's sins -- she's self-absorbed, petulant, and certainly not a great mother -- as the worst of all.

Whether you love her, hate her or love to hate her, Betty will return in Season 6 and, at a recent Los Angeles press day, Jones says she wishes she could discuss everything that happens in the new season. "It's frustrating ... I get excited to talk about it and can't!" she says about the show's strict no spoilers policy.

But Jones was able to tease that things aren't necessarily going to get any easier between Betty and daughter Sally ( Kiernan Shipka), or Betty and her second husband Henry Francis ( Christopher Stanley). And while it sounds like Betty and Don's romance is over for good, Jones reveals why she finds herself relating to her on screen ex-husband more than any other character on the show.

On what the cast knows about the season before filming begins...

January Jones: "We don't find out [anything] until we get that first script for each season, which is a couple days before the table read -- or a day before the table read sometimes. The only time I've ever gotten a little bit of knowledge is if I had to learn something specifically and I'd needed to learn it before we started. Before Season 2, I was taking months of English horseback riding lessons, learning to jump and do all that, not really knowing why. I thought I was going to bite the bullet or something. Before the episode where we were in Rome, I had a few weeks to try to learn Italian. Things like that. But otherwise, no. And I don't ask. I know some of the cast members ask and try to needle info out of [Matthew Weiner]. But, I'd rather be surprised."

On whether or not being a mother suits Betty...

"I think she struggles with it. I think a lot of mothers struggle with it. But I think that because of [her] emotional immaturity [Betty] is just not as great at it as some people are. Maybe she thought it was a good idea to be a mother and have children and have this idea of what was expected of her and not everyone is a natural at it. But she tries, I think she's trying harder. And she wants to be good at it; it's just not something that comes naturally to her. She was Daddy's little girl and finds it very hard to be unselfish."

mad-men-season-6-january-jones-christopher-stanley-amc.jpg On Betty's struggle to find happiness with Henry Francis...

"Well, I think that it could be a very happy marriage, the one with Henry, because he is exactly what she wanted and asked for. I just don't think Betty knows how to be 100% happy. I don't think that she's ever satisfied with her circumstances. It's just a personality flaw. But, I think he really loves her, and they are happy in some ways. It's just a human nature thing that people deal with ... you want what you don't have."

On Betty's relationship with Sally in Season 6...

"I think they'll butt heads even more because she's becoming a teenager. That's what happens when you're a girl and you become a teenager, and you have a very interesting relationship with your mother. They're not going to become fast friends. I know at the end of Season 5 there was a moment for Betty and Sally that was very sweet, when Sally got her period and she went to her mother. You see that they do have a connection, it's just a work in progress."

On whether or not Betty may ever reconnect with Don...

"Like a lot of audience members, I liked the idea of that relationship. And I loved working with Jon and acting out those sometimes very heated arguments or passionate moments. We work really well together, and so I liked that. But, I just don't think that it's realistic, and Matthew doesn't think that it's realistic. She would have been able to deal with infidelity and things like that, but finding out that he was someone else just ended it for her in her head."

On what working on the show has made her appreciate about living in the 21st Century...

"I feel very fortunate. I see myself as a very independent modern woman and would struggle very much if I was put in that situation. I wouldn't know how to cope with that -- unless I did what I do now -- unless I was an actress and had a bit more freedom. But they had studio contacts and things, so it would have just been very hard. If I put myself now, in [that time], it would be very hard. If I grew up in it? I don't know."

On the "Mad Men" character she relates to the most...

"Maybe Don. Just struggling with good and bad and, you know, there's just something very human about him that I think we all can relate to. I think that's why people are attracted to that character. You see someone with very human flaws, but tries to cover them up. Someone that is somewhat successful and yet that doesn't make him happy. I just find that -- I can understand some of that more than anything."
Photo/Video credit: AMC