UpClose: Matthew Weiner

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What television has become in the last few decades is the place where a sensibility can announce and shape itself; it’s possible more consistently an auteur’s medium these days than the movies.

Creator and executive producer Matthew Weiner’s vision was evident from the first episode of “Mad Men”; he worked on the pilot for years, and with the casting of Jon Hamm, his creative purview was furthered.

In this installment of the KCRW/NPR in-depth conversation series, UpClose, he mentions not only Hamm’s casting, but also how the selection of many of the “Mad Men” ensemble reflects refinement – more than a few of the actors are from the Midwest, which gives them a base of civility and self-possession. Specifically how, in Vincent Kartheiser’s case, the actor is so grounded he can make Pete Campbell’s repellent behavior seem charming – also that Pete has evolved through the choice of the right mate.

And the influence of movies is mentioned, too; he talks about how he used 1971’s “Carnal Knowledge” as a taking off point for the past few “Mad Men” seasons: a scene between Peggy and Joan could be a distaff version of screenwriter Jules Feiffer’s sharp monologues.

I hope you find the talk as engaging as I did.

Also, don't miss Matt Holzman's take on the evening on the Matt's Movies Blog.

Video Excerpt

Slideshow from the event
Banner image and photography: Bryony Shearmur Photography





Gemma Dempsey