You think he knows who is then?

Totally figured out who he is? I don’t think he has…but I feel like he believes he has.

If you were Pete’s friend, what advice would you want to give him about the direction his life is currently heading?

The truth is, none of Pete’s friends really know a lot about his personal life. Pete Campbell keeps a lot of his life very very private…so I don’t know…if I were Pete’s friend, I probably wouldn’t know anything about him.

So no advice?

I would tell him: relax…stay cool, and stop competing with people in your office. You’re all on the same team, man.

Sound advice. Last fall you played the lead in The Death of the Novel, it seemed like a pretty  intense and dark role; do you find it difficult to come out of roles like that one, after being submersed in their world?

Yeah, but I’m not afraid of darkness…it’s something I’ve been doing for a very long time, you know? I have a relatively high capability of doing it. I’m not exactly Mr. Rom-Com…I wish I was sometimes, I think that’s challenging and difficult to do as well, and it’s something I’d love to explore in my career.

Do you get called in to audition for darker stuff mostly?

Often times I’m brought in to play characters that tend to see the darker side of life, the more depressed side…the quite brutal or evil side of life. Was it difficult to play and drop out of that character? No not particularly…because at a very young age you learn to leave stuff at the office. I mean not all actors do…people stay in character throughout the run of a show, and they leave it behind when the show is done, but for me. I leave it every night.

It’s good to have a separation.

The most draining part of playing a character like that is not that you stay in, but that your entering and exiting that dark place over and over again, and eventually…after months of doing it…it’s just tiring. It takes an emotional toll on you.

I’ve heard people say it can be a bit like therapy, do you find acting cathartic at all?

No…I think for some people it might be, but I don’t really know, not for me. I think I would be scared if I were getting this sort of therapeutic release from it because I would be scared I was getting too close to it, those emotions and those characters. I like to keep my personal life separate, mostly because I often do play such dark characters.

Yeah, neither Sebastian or Pete make you feel warm and cozy exactly, but you yourself have a pretty trusting and inviting face. Have you ever used that to your advantage? Used your baby face to get out of trouble?

Oh I get out of lots of trouble. You know it’s interesting, I just saw a documentary, and they talked about blue eyes, that blue eyes are inherently less trustworthy than brown eyes. They did this test, and they found that over and over and over people always chose the brown-eyed photograph as trusting people. That’s one of the reasons that blue eyes are becoming extinct, or someday will be extinct because people trust them less, and they’ll have less children.

You’ll have to rely on something other than blue eyes then to get out of trouble.

You just have to know exactly what the person needs to hear in order to allow you to seek your escape (laughing).

On the topic of escapes, how do you like to spend your time off set?

I’d say 80 percent of the time I like to stay home, read and watch movies. I like to travel…when I get the chance…I like going places and exploring.

Are you an activities person then?

I do go through times when I love to go camping…or play a very light-hearted sport (laughing). But I’d say generally, I’m much more chill…and a be by myself sort of guy.

With Mad Men going into an impressive 6th season, and this season being the second to last, are you starting to feel nostalgic at all for the beginning, sad to see it coming to an end?

Not yet no…as actors, your job is always ending. Every job that I had in my life has ended. And it usually just ends up being 30 days or 60 days, or maybe a little play for 6 months of something, but it’s always ending.

That’s a lot of goodbyes throughout your career.

You get use to things ending, and you get use to saying goodbye.  You get very close to people because you work long hours with them, your eating all your meals with them…it’s a bonding experience — it’s almost like dying when you leave.

Do you get use to it?

It’s something I’ve been doing for twenty-eight years…Mad Men is actually the anomaly, the fact that I’ve known these people for so long, that I’ve had one job for seven and half years or something.

It’s a long time to be working with the same people by any standards.

Yeah, that’s the weird grape in the bunch. You know usually it’s 60 days and you’re out. I will miss it when the time comes, but I haven’t gotten down to thinking about that yet…I still have at least a year left of it, you know?

Where do you think Pete will end up by the show’s finale based on his current trajectory?

I have no idea (laughing)! It’s as surprising to us at it is to the audience where they take the characters. The great thing about our show is that it’s a surprise where they take the characters and what they do next, but generally it’s believable. It’s an organic place…even if you didn’t see it coming, it’s in the character, of the character. It’s not something where we have to go, “oh, they’re really reaching.” It could happen to these people, we just didn’t expect it.

Styling by Kate Riney
Grooming by Marissa Machado at Celestine Agency
Shot on location at the Crescent Hotel Beverly Hills


Published March 29th, 2013