Are there any questions left to ask the cast and creator of AMC‘s Mad Men? ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer gives it a whirl on her World News tomorrow night; additional portions of the interview will follow on Nightline and Friday’s Good Morning America. Part …
‘Mad Men’s’ Season 7 Big Hollywood Premiere Buzz: How Does It All End? Why Can’t The Cast Win At Emmys? And Why Does Matt Weiner Welcome HBO’s ‘True Detective’ To Drama Series Race?
AMC threw a Hollywood premiere Wednesday night to kick off what was termed “the beginning of the end.” AMC president Charlie Collier, Mad Men creator Matt Weiner and cast and crew were at the Arclight Theatre for the “Time Zones” episode that begins the first half of Season 7 premiering April 13th. The season marks the final go-round of the landmark four-time Emmy-winning Best Drama Series. The protracted goodbye will be split between seven episodes this spring and the final final episodes in spring 2015.
It was all very bittersweet last night as production actually was just beginning on those even as the premiere was kicking off. In fact, executive producer Scott Hornbacher, who directed the “Time Zones” episode, was late to this party as he is also directing the first of those backend episodes. He told me later at the Chateau Marmont afterparty that it’s going to be tough to end it, pointing to several people in the room he described as “family,” people he saw every day. That was the general consensus I got from so many cast members and AMC execs who have been with this since Day 1. One exec told me he was 24 when he first saw the pilot script. He’s 35 now. Life goes on. And so does Mad Men – at least to the conclusion for this iconic group of characters. CAA’s Bryan Lourd was seated next to me (he reps Weiner) and told me he wouldn’t have missed this event — even though CAA is having its retreat this weekend at La Costa near San Diego and he had to postpone a run-thru there to 11 PM so he could make it down the 405 freeway after the screening.
Although Disney devoted a good chunk of its CinemaCon presentation today to talk of Star Wars and The Avengers and clips of upcoming movies including first looks at the live-action re-telling of Cinderella and Pixar’s Inside Out, theater owners left the near three-hour session really singing the praises of one of the lesser-known films on the slate: the May 16 release Million Dollar Arm. It stars Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, who received the convention’s Excellence In Acting award from studio Chairman Alan Horn just before a full screening of the movie, which Horn told the crowd has scored higher than any movie he has ever tested at Disney, or Warner Bros before that. “And that includes the first Harry Potter, which was so highly anticipated,” he said. Judging from the reaction in the Caesars Palace Colosseum theater and comments afterward, those test scores would seem to be justified. This is the kind of increasingly rare non-animated family film that should play across the board. “It’s comical, it’s emotional, it has great music” was what one exhibitor was heard saying as he walked out. That music, by the way, is from two-time Oscar winner A.R. Rahman, who scored Slumdog Millionaire.
PaleyFest: ‘Mad Men’ Cast Muses About Season 6, Wonders About Season 7 And Bemoans The Inevitable End
It was quite clear heading into Friday night’s Mad Men panel at the PaleyFest that the audience would come away knowing more about Star Wars: Episode VII than Mad Men Season 7. Star Wars wasn’t discussed, but in traditional fashion, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner not only revealed zero clues about the next season of the AMC series, which returns April 13, but he remained largely tight-lipped about his next act when the show concludes in 2015. “I love the audience not knowing how the new season is going to start,” Weiner told Deadline, “We ended [Season 6] in the fall of 1968, and we’ll begin right after that.” One reveal: “A week from today, we start shooting the final seven episodes,” star Jon Hamm during the Q&A, which followed a screening of Season 6 finale “In Care Of.” In that episode, Hamm’s complex protagonist, ad man Don Draper, suffers a layoff from Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and divulges his past to his co-workers and children. “I don’t think any of us have any idea what the tone or look will be,” Hamm said of how the cast remains in the dark about the ultimate finale.
With his career as a sports agent circling the drain, JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) swings for the fences: He heads to India in the hope of finding a cricket player who can pitch in the major leagues. There he finds a pair of 18-year-olds (Madhur Mittal and Suraj Sharma) …
The doctors are in, again. Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe have signed on for a second series of A Young Doctor’s Notebook & Other Stories. The Big Talk Productions mini will return later this year on Sky Arts in the UK. The first four-part series originally aired in December 2012 and was the most successful program in Sky Arts history. Ovation will air series one this fall in the U.S. The adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s short stories sees Hamm as a Russian doctor during the Russian Revolution, and Radcliffe as his younger self. The comedy-drama’s second series will return to the small village of Muryevo in 1918 to find the Young Doctor battling against an all-consuming morphine addiction.
EXCLUSIVE: Mad Men star Jon Hamm has signed on to provide the lead voice (alongside Sandra Bullock) in Minions, the Universal Pictures/Illumination Entertainment spinoff of the Despicable Me franchise. Bullock is set to voice Scarlet Overkill, a stylish bad-ass super-villain who is (what else?) bent on world domination. Hamm will voice her husband, the inventor Herb Overkill. The 3D CG animated comedy has been set for release December 19, 2014.
At the same time, veteran animated feature film executive Tito Ortiz has returned to Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment in the position of VP Development. Ortiz was one of the original employees at Illumination when it opened its doors in 2007, serving as Director of Development until 2011, when he left the company to pursue opportunities in the music industry. Even during his hiatus, Ortiz stayed close to the company by assisting in development across multiple properties. In his new role, Ortiz will be involved in the development of new feature film projects, and has already started in that mission with the recently announced animated adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, which will be directed by Pete Candeland.
Premiering its two-hour sixth season opener at the DGA theatre in Hollywood on Wednesday night, AMC and Lionsgate’s four-time Best Drama Series Emmy winner Mad Men threw its hat in the ring to retake that Emmy which it lost for the first time last year to Showtime’s newcomer Homeland. The new season, which debuts on April 7th, opens with Don Draper and wife Megan on Christmas vacation on the beaches of Waikiki and promises more of the same kind of intrigue and incremental character development for which it is known. But creator Matt Weiner, who obviously wants to keep viewers guessing, warned the packed industry crowd not to give anything away before the show actually airs. In fact, in the elaborate press kit sent to critics, Weiner is even more specific about keeping the first episode’s secrets intact with a non-reveal list that includes the year the season begins, status of Don and Megan’s relationship, whether the agency has expanded to an additional floor, new characters, and new relationships or partnerships. That doesn’t leave much to tell except to say each of the characters is thrust into interesting new areas and the actors are all at the top of their games (Jon Hamm even has to pull off a mysterious 8-minute stretch where he doesn’t utter a word). It just continues to be a bafflement as to why not a single actor on the show has ever won an Emmy in the five years it has been on. Will that change as Season 6 takes off and plays right through the Emmy nomination voting period?
There are just two episodes left to film before the order of 13 wraps and the cast scatters to other gigs. Hamm told me that right after he finishes he is headed to India to start a new baseball film, Million Dollar Arm, to be directed by Craig Gillespie (Lars And The Real Girl) in which he plays an agent who recruits Asian cricket players to switch to the major leagues. He particularly liked getting to take Don Draper to Hawaii this time around, and the character clearly promises to be travelling to other new internal places as well based on the first two hours. Christina Hendricks, Robert Morse, Jessica Pare, January Jones, Elisabeth Moss and John Slattery (who has some big scenes in the show) were among the Mad Men cast who turned up for the crowded party at Sunset Towers following the screening along with Weiner, producer Scott Hornbacher (who directed the premiere) and AMC president Charlie Collier, who told me he was proud of the way Mad Men is able to keep fresh and inventive.
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s a hot signing before the biz goes away for the holidays. CAA has just signed Jon Hamm, the Mad Men star who recently left ICM Partners early last month following the exit of his longtime agent Carol Bodie. Hamm had taken meetings with a few of the agencies — WME was the other major player — but he’s headed for CAA. Hamm should have a bright future in features. Like Alec Baldwin, he can play comedy as well as drama, and has done several inspired turns on Saturday Night Live and in the film Bridesmaids. He played serious in the Ben Affleck-directed The Town, and those blue-chinned guys like Hamm also work well in macho franchises.
Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe have teamed for the Sky Arts Playhouse Presents miniseries, a four-part comedy-drama based on a collection of semi-autobiographical short stories by Russian writer and playwright Mikhail Bulgakov. Radcliffe plays a young doctor working in a small village in 1917, and Hamm plays …
EXCLUSIVE: What did Hawaii look like in the late 1960s? We’ll get a glimpse in the Season 6 premiere of AMC’s Mad Men. I’ve learned that the New York-set drama series is headed for a …
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage. (Note: This story was originally posted on Thursday.)
Several streaks will be tested at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards this Sunday. Will Mad Men win a record fifth Emmy in a row for Outstanding Drama Series? Will Bryan Cranston make it four consecutive lead acting wins for Breaking Bad and Jim Parsons three in a row for The Big Bang Theory? Can Modern Family pull a top comedy series three-peat? And can The Daily Show With Jon Stewart make it a decade as the Emmy winner for best variety series? At the Creative Emmy Awards last weekend, HBO’s fantasy drama Game Of Thrones‘ bagged the most Emmys, six. Will GOT be able to hold onto its lead Sunday? And will Mad Men finally win an acting trophy? While waiting for all those questions to be answered Sunday, here are some final predictions for how things might go down in some of the top categories.
The Nominees: Mad Men (AMC), Breaking Bad (AMC), Homeland (Showtime), Downton Abbey (PBS), Game of Thrones (HBO), Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
Who’s Going to Win: Let’s go out on a limb and say Breaking Bad is going to get it done. It would be highly unusual for a drama to win its first Outstanding Drama Series Emmy in its fourth season, but Breaking Bad is a highly unusual show whose buzz has sailed off the charts of late. “What a lot of people might forget,” one producer told me, “is that this award is for Season 4, not Season 5, when Breaking Bad arguably peaked. Just personally, all my friends voted for it. Take from that what you will.” I’ll take it as an omen for a semi-upset.
Then Again: One can make the argument that Breaking Bad is simply too dark for the TV Academy mainstream. And if that turns out to be the case, a Mad Men triumph would surprise few. That would give it a record five statuettes in the category, an accomplishment that eluded four-timers Hill Street Blues, The West Wing and L.A. Law. But as one writer told me, “I don’t feel the love for Mad Men this time. The perception is that it’s time to honor someone else.” That could also mean Homeland, which has both the advantage and disadvantage of being a rookie.