"He Wants To Be A Guy, But Also Wants To Be A Man"
CB: Did the role require any significant preparation for you?
RS: Uh…no, not really. [laughs] It was pretty straightforward. The one really nice thing was that David Frankel, the director, invited us to improvise, and invited us to go off the script, and in fact mentioned -- this was like, my biggest adrenaline rush ever, in his director's commentary, he mentioned me and improv in the same breath, which was like, "Oh my gosh. I love it." But like, the ending to our first scene in the movie was completely made up by us, and he loved it. We ended up fine-tuning it, but it was basically the last few lines of that first scene, where we toast to jobs that pay the rent, was something that we came up with on the spot. And there are a couple of little moments like that.
CB: So let's get into Mad Men. How did you first hear about the show?
RS: Um, it was during my first major pilot season in New York, because after The Devil Wears Prada, some people were willing to let me come in and audition, and it was one of many pilots I went in for that year.
CB: And you read for Harry, originally?
RS: Actually, you know, a lot of us boys read for other parts. Aaron Staton, who plays Ken, originally read for Pete, I read for Dick, who became Paul Kinsey, played by Michael Gladis…I think all of us were reading for different parts and it just kind of came out in the wash.
CB: Gotcha. So you knew nothing about the project other than getting sides?
RS: Well, I had the script, and my manager was calling to give me some background. They called me about this one -- they said that this one was kind of a biggie, because it was being made by people who had worked on The Sopranos, and the pilot script was being touted as being especially different, and an especially strong piece in that pilot season. I remember talking to people way back then about Mad Men and them saying, "Oh, I heard about that! My agent was saying that was one of his favorite scripts of the year!" It was definitely one of the hot projects of that season.