Film Independent Mon 5.18.2015

“It has been our pleasure to perform for you.” Weiner Thanks Fans at a Memorable Mad Men Send-Off

Just before the screening of the Mad Men finale presented by Film Independent and AMC, a giddy Matthew Weiner took his victory lap across the stage at the Ace Hotel. The standing ovation and cheers offered a reflection of the artistically Herculean feat of creating a deep emotional connection between every one of us and the gloriously messy characters he’d created. “I’m so grateful. We’re all so grateful to have this… I will call it ‘a relationship’. Even by Don Draper standards, this is a relationship. It has been our pleasure to perform for you and to work on this,” said Weiner grinning, as he weaved his way across the stage. “This is so surreal. I’m not even drunk and I can’t function.”

As he introduced the actors who’d come to celebrate with their fans, each beamed as they were hit with thunderous applause: Jay R. Ferguson, Christopher Stanley, Rich Sommer, Kiernan Shipka, Mason Vale Cotton, Michael Gladis, Robert Morse, Aaron Staton, Jessica Pare, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, John Slattery and, at the end of the line, a smiling Jon Hamm—as dapper as Don, but in a completely different way—gave the whooping crowd a big wave, and then demurred when Weiner asked if he wanted to say anything.

The evening started off with a Jason Reitman-directed Live Read of the first’s season finale, The Wheel.

Kevin Pollak, as Bert Cooper, walked on stage carrying his shoes.

Fred Savage oozed smarm as the young Pete Campbell, who tells Don, “It matters to me that you’re impressed.”

Mickey Sumner gave one of the night’s most moving performances as Betty in the poignant scene where she matter-of-factly tells her therapist how painful being married to the philandering Don can be, and then adds. “He’s kind, inside.”

Ashley Greene milked Joan’s great lines, like “Sometimes when people get what they want, they realize how limited their goals were.”

But it was Colin Hanks, cocktail in hand, who had the biggest challenge of the night: filling the shoes of Jon Hamm. Hanks brought a boyish quality to the role of Don Draper in the episode that climaxes with Don delivering the heartbreakingly beautiful Kodak Carousel pitch—arguably Draper’s greatest pitch ever. He drives it home as he clicks through the slideshow, through his own young family’s fleetingly idyllic moments. “Teddy told me that in Greek, “nostalgia” literally means, ‘the pain from an old wound.’ It’s a twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn’t a spaceship. It’s a time machine. It goes backwards, forwards. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called the Wheel. It’s called a Carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels. Around and around, and back home again… to a place where we know we are loved.”

Pamela Miller / Website & Grants Manager

The full Live Read cast:
Colin Hanks as Don Draper, the role originated by Jon Hamm
Mickey Sumner as Betty Draper, the role originated by January Jones
Ashley Greene as Joan Holloway, the role originated by Christina Hendricks
Kevin Pollak as Bertram Cooper, the role originated by Robert Morse
Rob Huebel as Ken Cosgrove, the role originated by Aaron Staton
Kaitlyn Dever as Peggy Olson, the role originated by Elisabeth Moss
Brian Klugman as Paul Kinsey, the role originated by Michael Gladis
David Wain as Harry Crane, the role originated by Rich Sommer
Fred Savage as Pete Campbell, the role originated by Vincent Kartheiser