We’re used to seeing Jon Hamm in a suit and tie as Don Draper on AMC’s Mad Men. Now that production has wrapped on the award-winning series, and it approaches a spring 2015 finale, he’s loosening up a bit. Hamm is growing out his beard and taking on what Variety describes as pet projects, particularly UK series A Young Doctor’s Notebook in which he stars alongside Daniel Radcliffe.
“It’s not a show that appeals to an incredibly wide swath,” he told Variety ahead of the dark comedy’s stateside season premiere tonight. “[But it’s] a dark, funny, beautiful little thing.”
As is Hamm’s take on how we’re watching more and more television off of the TV screen. Check out some of the best moments from his conversation with Variety, and tune in to A Young Doctor’s Notebook season two premiere tonight on Ovation.
On shooting A Young Doctor’s Notebook in London:
I love working in the UK. Since I’ve gone to London the first time when I was 20 years old, I’ve had a sort of love affair with London. It’s a beautiful city and the people are very nice. The countryside is obviously gorgeous… It’s a collection of short stories so by nature, it’s episodic, so that could be interesting. And knowing British television, this could be a fun, little one-off thing that we could do for not a lot of money – mostly on set. You don’t have to go on location, which when you’re doing a period thing makes it very expensive. It could be dark and weird and macabre and funny… and like a little curio, a little interesting thing, so I sparked to it.
On basing the show on short stories from Mikhail Bulgakov:
When you base a television show on a very small book of short stories, you tend to run out of source material very quickly. So obviously the first series we called The Young Doctor’s Notebook. And this series we called The Young Doctor’s Notebook and Other Stories, because we ran out of Young Doctor’s Notebooks. So we had to sort of crib some of his other writing. I don’t think there will be a third series, but the interesting thing about making television in the UK is that they don’t require there to be 100 episodes for it to be made. It can be four or eight or even 12, or just six, and so that’s it. I think this may be the final time we see it, but I would do it again if there was another version of it.
On bringing Radcliffe on board:
As it turns out he’s a massive Mikhail Bulgakov fan and he loves the guy…I’m like, “So I guess we’re doing this.” … He’s such a nice person and a lovely actor to work with and he’s just such a hardworking guy. He was doing a play on the West End when we were doing the second season… “so we were literally just wrapping and we’ve been up since 6 o’clock in the morning and you’re going to go do a play?” He’s a perpetual motion machine.
On television’s changing landscape:
The world may be overtaking the sort of broadcast model at this point. There are so many other ways to consume televised entertainment. It’s Netflix. It’s Amazon. Xbox. All of these people are producing video content – at varying levels of quality, of course, but it is what it is. That’s not even taking into account the FunnyorDies of the world or the YouTubes of the world. I feel like the broadcast thing, while it is still a huge portion of the viewing audience’s main way to receive content, the portion has been shrinking by degrees year by year. I’m not a media studies major and I’m not a network executive. I just know that as a consumer I’m seeing that shift. And honestly, we were at the thin end of the wedge, the spear, so to speak, but AMC was one of the first non-HBO entities to have kind of a big splash in the culture and in the conversation. Now there are 15 more AMCs.