Matthew Weiner talks about ‘Mad Men’ characters on eve of sixth season premiere

By Daniel S Levine,

Now that Jon Hamm doesn’t want the media to joke about his privates anymore, we can move on to more important matters. Like, what’s going to happen to Don Draper in season six of Mad Men? Where does Peggy Olsen go from here? And will Sal ever come back?

With the sixth season premiere only days away, creator Matthew Weiner sat down with THe Wall Street Journal to talk about the show and its characters, but as usual, he’s not revealing any spoilers.

Weiner, 47, didn’t talk about the show’s rough start again. He’s talked about how Showtime and HBO all passed and how it landed at AMC enough.

“I got a lot of pity for basically moving to the Internet,” Weiner said. “People would say, 'Good luck on A&E,' and I would have to say, 'It's AMC.' I was an executive producer on The Sopranos who went to this no-name network that had never produced a show. And the show had no stars in it. It's like you were valedictorian and then suddenly you're going for a semester at sea.”

The executive producer throws out plenty of names that inspired him, from Rod Serling’s Patterns to Dear Heart with Glen Ford. “People describe Don as an antihero, but he is not—at least not to me,” he said. “Jon Hamm reminded me of Gregory Peck, who starred in Mirage, about a businessman who's lost his memory. That was definitely there when I was writing Mad Men.”

“These characters are comprised of fragments from my own imagination and reflect aspects of my personality—good and bad,” he said about his creations.

When it comes to Peggy (Elisabeth Olsen), he says, “Yes, there are aspects of her arc that have to do with being female, but that has nothing to do with her perception of herself. Some people have ambition, and some people don't—and that's true whether they're a man or a woman.”

According to IndieWire, Weiner notes that he’s always asked about Bryan Batt’s Sal character, who was fired in season three, never to be heard from again. And expect it to stay that way.

“I wanted to tell the story of how incredibly unfair it was for Sal, and that's the sacrifice I made. It's a gigantic moment in the series,” he said. “If you liked the first season so much, go watch it again...You cannot have bacon at every meal. I got that from David Chase. You'll burn out that way.”

Mad Men premieres on April 7.

image: AMC



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