Mad Men
The Rich Sommer Interview

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"He Wants To Be A Guy, But Also Wants To Be A Man"
CB: That's hilarious. RS: I don't know how it worked. CB: But it was a scripted audition, yes? They sent you pages? RS: Yeah. CB: Did your buddy read with you? RS: My friend who was hosting the party, who also could be heard eating pork chops behind the camera. It was the most asinine audition tape I have ever seen, much less been in, and they loved it. CB: Dude, first you get into UCB off a list… RS: I know! I know! CB: …and then you get a part in a major motion picture in this manner. It's hilarious. RS: It's been a very fortuitous path. CB: So you got into this huge project. You must have had something of a sink-or-swim feeling about it. Most people get to ease into it a little more, maybe with an independent film or something? RS: Right, right. There was a sort of…I never felt over my head. I felt prepared. That's where…even though I was the guy with a beer in his hand and pork chops in his mouth in the audition, I also had a master's degree, and felt like I was prepared. So walking in to do that first read-through, which was terrifying -- I mean, Meryl Streep walks in and introduces herself to you, in a room where there are only like fifteen people, all told. It was very surreal, but it was fantastic, and again, I didn't feel over my head. Anne Hathaway, Adrian Grenier, Tracie Thorns, were all so welcoming to me, and I think they recognized that I was definitely the freshest, newest kid out of the group, and Adrian and Annie and Tracy, all of them were just so good to me. I spent much of our time when we weren't shooting hanging out with Adrian in his trailer and watching DVDs, or the four of us just standing on a street corner in Union Square and chatting. It was really an amazing experience -- I couldn't have asked for a better first run into it. 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.

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