Jessica Pare: From guest role to lead actress on ‘Mad Men’
Jessica Paré was in the dark about whether her character Megan Calvet would amount to anything more than a minor guest role when she first joined Emmy juggernaut "Mad Men" last season. "I had to take every episode as they came, whether I had one line, or none," she recalls.
Megan was the office receptionist but soon became engaged to Don Draper (Jon Hamm). This season she worked as an adwoman alongside her former superiors and married the boss. As her character unexpectedly became more important, Paré admits in a video chat with Gold Derby that she was having a similar experience, noting the "journey was as fresh for me, as a performer, as it was for Megan."
Paré was given one of this season's highlights — a musical performance of "Zou Bisou Bisou" in the two-part season premiere "A Little Kiss." "Initially I thought, 'what is Megan thinking?'" laughs Paré on first hearing about the scene. Showrunner Matthew Weiner shared it with her in advance to allow her time to work with a choreographer because, as Paré notes, "I'm not a dancer [and] … it's not something I feel that comfortable with, in my wheelhouse."
She recalls the long day of shooting the dancing scenes over and over again, admitting, "for the first episode back to be literally doing a song and dance routine in front of everybody was a little daunting!"
As was recently reported by Gold Derby, Paré has been promoted from Drama Guest Actress (where she missed out on a nomination last year) to Drama Actress at this year's Emmys, much like her character Megan, who moved up from lowly receptionist to adwoman and Mrs. Don Draper within a year.
This pits her against co-star and previous nominee Elisabeth Moss. Paré could break into this tough category because of the prominent role she played throughout season five. If nominated, she is leaning towards submitting the two-part season opener because "it shows a lot of Megan's perspective on things; a new perspective."