John Slattery and Talia Balsam Q&A: ‘Mad Men’
"Mad Men" may be headed towards the finish line after seven seasons, but don't ask series regular John Slattery to give up any intel about the upcoming final episodes. As he told us during a recent webcam chat, "You don't want to let the secrets out because it's that much more entertaining when you don't know."
At the time of our chat, Slattery and company had shot six of the final seven episodes, which will air a whopping 10 months from now. He did reveal that the script for the series finale was "extraordinary" and "electric."
On this four-time Emmy champ for Best Drama Series, Slattery is Roger Sterling, one of the long-time partners at a New York advertising agency in the 1960s. At the end of the first seven episodes of this final season, which aired on AMC this spring, he was promoted to president of the agency following the death of Bert Cooper (Robert Morse).
Early on in the series, Sterling divorced his wife Mona. Slattery's real-life spouse Talia Balsam, who plays this part, joined him for our chat. She is the daughter of Oscar-winning actor Martin Balsam ("A Thousand Clowns") and actress Joyce Van Patten. Her career has included guest roles on "Homeland," "Treme," "Nurse Jackie," "Without a Trace," "Ally McBeal," "thirtysomething," "Murder, She Wrote," and "Magnum, P.I."
Balsam has made occasional appearances on "Mad Men" throughout its run, including this season's much-discussed "The Monolith." In that episode, Mona and Roger go on a road trip to a hippie commnue to beg their daughter to return home to her husband and young son. She is submitted in the Best Drama Guest Actress category.
As for that episode and his character, Slattery said, "He saw the beauty of the free love and hedonistic side of living in a commune. It becomes apparent that she's happy, Margaret (or Marigold as she prefers to be called), that she has an obligation to her son. As a father, it's a jolting revelation to find out that you've been such a bad example of a father."
Slattery has been nominated at the Emmys four times (2008-2011) for his supporting role and has directed several episodes as well. He recently helmed the indie film "God's Pocket" which stars the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Jenkins, John Turturro, and his "Mad Men" sparring partner Christina Hendricks.