Matt Weiner Revisits the Casting of Don Draper

Mad Men creator Matt Weiner was on Dennis Miller’s radio show today, basking in the after-glow of Sunday’s fifth season debut. The AMC series is Miller’s favorite program, and at one point the conversation drifted to the casting of Jon Hamm as Don Draper.

Weiner recalled that at the time of the pilot, the Hollywood trend was for anti-leading men protagonists such as Seth Rogen, and that Hamm was struggling to gain traction. When asked who he originally envisioned as Draper, Weiner told Miller he appropriately reached way back:

“When my casting director asked me who I wanted for the role, I was like, ‘Honestly, I’ve narrowed it down to two people – get me William Holden or James Garner…’ They’re like, ‘You can’t say that.'”

“Garner at the time is like 72, and Holden is long gone… Garner was the lead in a lot of movies that I was influenced by, and he kind of had this virtuous, Boy Scout quality at the same time as being a complete cynic. And really handsome.”

Miller also drew the comparison that Hamm’s Mad Men motif is reminiscent of the Garner movie The Americanization of Emily. The 1964 drama is another favorite of Miller’s and, as it turns out, Weiner also, who mentioned he has read aloud to show writers portions of the Paddy Chayevsky film script.

[Photo: Helga Esteb/]

Previously on FishbowlLA:
James Garner is His Own Worst Critic

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.
Publish date: March 27, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT