'Mad Men' Season 6 interview: Jessica Pare on Don Draper's fidelity and getting physical with fans
But her role as Don Draper's second wife Megan has rapidly developed into one of the most prominent parts on the critically acclaimed hit. And fans are anxiously waiting to see if Megan and Don will manage to make it through another season of wedded bliss.
Can Don really be faithful? Will Megan's acting ambitions get in the way of their relationship? Will Megan ever be tempted to return to advertising?
All valid questions, which Pare absolutely unequivocally will not answer. (She won't even admit the show filmed part of the season premiere in Hawaii, despite hard evidence.)
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Here are the highlights of what Pare did talk about during a roundtable discussion at a recent Los Angeles press day.
On Megan's unique role on the show and what she represents about the '60s...
Jessica Pare: "One of the great things about the show, in general, is that there are no characters that are solely stereotypes or archetypes of that era, or any era. They're all full and real people, so they don't represent one single idea or movement. But I think Megan is probably part of the first generation of women that thought that she could have a career and a family life without so many social barriers. I think she's one of the first who thought it's just there for the taking.
"That's really new for [Don], too. I mean, certainly it wasn't part of his first marriage, and here he is having to adapt to this sort of new social norm that women were going to be in the home but also in the workplace."
On whether or not Megan believes Don will stay faithful in their marriage...
"She's an optimist, and she trusts him, and how much of that crosses over into what somebody else might call naivete is sort of up to you as an audience member."
On the challenge of never knowing what will happen next until she sees a script...
"They're so tight-lipped about it. [It's] the special challenge for me working on this. I mean, I've done work, a little bit in TV, but mostly in film where you're handed your whole character arc before you even get the job. You know where you're going. So with this, it's such a challenge.
"[When] I auditioned -- the character description was: female, brunette. So I was like, 'I'm perfect for this. Check, check.' But they didn't say anything about where it was going to go. They said it might be three or more episodes, which I was really excited about. This is better, but I was really excited about that.
"I was so excited to have my first episode. I got my first script, and it had one line, and it was, 'Yes, Joan.' I was a little disappointed for 30 seconds, and then I was like, 'Jessica, come on, it's one line, but it's one line on "Mad Men"! And you [have] a scene with Joan!' As the pages came through, it was a challenge to not play any more than what was on the page, which there wasn't much of, because I didn't want to act myself out of a job, you know?"
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On working with Jon Hamm as both an actor and a director...
"It's great because of all those qualities [he has]: the intelligence, the interest and his talent make him a very good director. He's really there, in that scene with you -- literally sometimes. But, even when I have a scene with somebody else, he's so in tune with what my character is going through at that time that it's really a joy. Also, he just gets the technical aspect of it. Every actor works differently but for me, it's great to do a scene with him and then he's like, 'Come. See at the monitor. See how you are doing this? Don't do that. [laughs] This is really great. Don't lose that.' There's a technical aspect to this that you wouldn't necessarily get with a director who's not doing the scene with you."
On her appreciation of and understanding for Don's ex-wife Betty Draper...
"Betty is one of my favorite characters on the show. I think that character is so fascinating and so well drawn because you can really see how she did everything right. She had a career working as a model and she married this promising guy. She got this big house in the suburbs and she had kids and then she was miserable. She did everything that women were told they were suppose to do. It's so interesting how you could see that evolution of her turning into that person she became."
On getting recognized by fans...
"It's great and it's also a little scary for them because I'm way more excited than them. They will be like, 'Do you play Megan on "Mad Men"?' And I'm like, 'Yes I do. Can you f---ing believe it?!' I punched a girl in the arm in New York."
Read more "Mad Men" Season 6 interviews with Jon Hamm, January Jones, John Slattery, Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks