John Slattery

Mad man, modest tippler

If businessmen were still having three martinis at lunch and sleeping with their secretaries like in Mad Men, would there be a recession right now?Ha, no. Everybody was happy making less money because they were getting laid a lot more. Well, and everyone was half in the bag, so no one realized it could be any different. Although they could drink three drinks a day because of the size of the martinis. No one drank drinks the ridiculous size they are now; it’s like a fishbowl. A three-martini lunch these days, you’d have to be crazy—but in the ’60s it wasn’t drinks the size they are now.

They were drunks, but they weren’t that drunk?
They weren’t that insane about it.

Do you all drink on set?
Constantly. If we’re shooting late, no one here is averse to having a drink. At the drop of a hat. Really, across the board, I don’t think there are too many teetotalers. The whole vibe is that way.

Do do you walk around in the Roger Sterling suit all day?
No, just the socks. I hate the socks from the ’60s, actually. They’re, like, very transparent and not that stretchy. So they’re a ballbuster to get on. And then you don’t want to take ’em off, you just want to leave ’em on.

You’re in the upcoming Iron Man sequel, as Robert Downey Jr.’s dad. That’s gotta be in a flashback, right?
I’m glad you said that. My kids said that. I don’t want to give anything away on it, but yeah. That makes sense, I can’t be Downey’s father, I’m not that old!

Do you ever worry about people that overemulate the Mad Men characters?
Sometimes I run into people at a bar or restaurant, people sending drinks over, and they’re like, “Roger Sterling is the greatest character ever!” and I’m like, “Really? You gotta get yourself a hobby, buddy.” I think people identify with characters that are prepared to go further in life than they are. Roger and Don are prepared and do go much further than most people will go. It’s entertainment.

Do they go further than you would?
Yeah, sure. Roger has that moment where he goes, Am I really going to jump in the sack with this hooker and then go home to my wife? Or, am I really going to leave my wife for the 20-year-old secretary? Which one of the twins am I gonna ride in my underwear?

Not exactly your dilemmas? Or is that just another Tuesday?
Ha, yeah.

Do Roger and Don have a bromance?
I would say it would be bromance. I maintain that Roger sees a side of Don that not many people see.

—Interviewed by Allison Williams

The second season of Mad Man is released on DVD July 14, and the third season premieres on AMC Aug 16.