John Slattery

New Beginnings

Words: Geoff Berkshire
Photography: Christopher Beyer

All good things must come to an end - even for John Slattery. 

John Slattery has spent eight years stealing scenes as wisecracking ad man Roger Sterling on TV’s Mad Men. We asked Slattery about saying goodbye and what’s next.

THE RED BULLETIN: You wrapped Mad Men last year. Have you moved on?

JOHN SLATTERY: I’ve gone through the end of shooting, which was sad. We all split up, but with the knowledge that [the show] would come back. At first I thought breaking up the season in two halves was to make money and stretch the thing out as long as possible, which may be the case, but I’m glad it happened now. We get to reunite and see everybody. And the show gets to be seen. I think these final episodes are really good.

What’s the feeling of the final season? Is it satisfying, open-ended, ambiguous?

It’s ending and Matt Weiner knows what that’s like because he was on The Sopranos when it ended. When a show gets that much attention the ending is pretty well scrutinized. He had an idea for an ending for a while, and I think he pulled it off really well. We’ve been with these characters for a long time, and they all end in a pretty satisfying way.

Was there pressure to make sure the ending wouldn’t “ruin” the show?

I don’t think there was pressure on us to deliver as much as Matt felt pressure, whether it was self-created or from the outside, to end it in a certain way. People talk about the ending of The Sopranos, Seinfeld, M*A*S*H … I’m sure there was pressure in the writers room. But I didn’t feel it. I don’t know if the other actors did. We were all going through ups and downs.

“I’m sure there was pressure in the writers room, but I didn’t feel it.”

We’ve heard the cast is really close. What’s it like knowing you won’t have an excuse to gather anymore?

That’s the hardest part, not being able to hang out. We’d play cards, people who weren’t working would drop by the set, we’d go to dinner. We established strong friendships, which will remain, but some of us live farther away now.

Later this year we’ll see you in Marvel’s Ant-Man. What can you tell us about that?

I play the same guy I played in Iron Man 2. It’s funny, really smart. It’ll be really entertaining with Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas. I’m looking forward to it—to seeing it.

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