The final episodes of Mad Men weren’t easy for Joan Harris, who endured rampant misogyny at McCann Erickson and an ultimately disappointing romance with wealthy land developer Richard. But they were great for Christina Hendricks, who did some of her best work yet as Joan this year, which should earn her a sixth Emmy nomination for supporting actress in a drama next month.
We caught up with Hendricks over the phone from New Orleans, where she’s currently filming a top-secret project: “I’m not sure if I’m allowed to talk about it yet. It’s one of those!” But she was able to discuss the final episodes of Mad Men, Joan’s decision to leave McCann and strike out on her own, and why she and her Mad Men co-stars are gravitating towards comedy roles now that Sterling Cooper has shut its doors for good.
Joan had a really strong stretch of episodes this year, but for Emmy voting, you have to pick one episode to submit. How do you decide something like that? Do you go back and look at all of them?
I usually don’t. In the past, sometimes I’d ask my manager, or even ask [Mad Men creator] Matt Weiner what they would recommend. Or sometimes you just get a lot of feedback from people. A lot of people will call, and you’ll be like, “Oh, a lot of people seem to have responded to that.” And I’ll choose that.
If I can recommend one from this season: “Lost Horizon,” with that big confrontation between Joan and Jim Hobart. That scene in particular felt like seven seasons’ worth of frustration boiling over for Joan.
I know! It was very cathartic. I love that we wrapped up Joan’s storyline still dealing with some of the same issues that she started with. Because it felt like there was so much growth and so much change… to end up back at the same point, I thought, was very poignant and very well-written, from Matt’s point of view. And so frustrating… you just wanted to punch the TV, and I guess that’s really good, you know?
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