Jack Interviews January
August 2, 2009 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Jack Nicholson and January Jones. Together at last.

Talking about acting, Mad Men, other stuff ...
posted by philip-random (29 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Oh man, I used to love January Jones. Living in her trailer in the back yard, solving mysteries with her two friends while being driven around in a limo she won in a "guess the number of beans in the jar" contest!
posted by DU at 9:39 AM on August 2, 2009 [5 favorites]

So I'm guessing Jack is once again on the prowl for another Hollywood starlet to notch? :)

I disagree with his opening premise though; Don Draper is not the center of the show, nor is he a red herring for January Jones. True, Don gets plenty of plot time, but what makes the show stunning is how every character, even the minor ones, are so thoroughly well acted, fleshed out brilliantly through tiny details, that it's not like most "ensemble" shows where it's really "Lead Actor and 20 cardboard cliches". The brilliance of the show is that none of the characters are either woodenly rotten or wholly pure. We can see flashes of the hurt, needy kid in Pete that redeem him from his sleazy affectations; we can see the the turmoil of Sal and his wife, the depths of Ken, the good and bad of Paul, the cruelty and yearning of Joan, etc, etc.

And while I don't think January Jones is quite at the Tricia Helfer level of "Whoa... and you can *act*, too?" casting surprises, she certainly holds her own and really does well to embody the character they've given her to portray. All the actors on this show do so well at conveying so much in little glances and expressions that last only a moment, but tell us so much.

Stupendous show. Cannot wait for August 18th!
posted by hincandenza at 10:14 AM on August 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

While I was reading the Interview piece, for some reason I became less and less able to believe that Nicholson wrote it. I have nothing whatsoever to base this on, but there it is.
posted by scratch at 10:21 AM on August 2, 2009

Pete? I'd say he's pretty much all bad. He's like the Brianna Barksdale of Mad Men.
posted by box at 10:22 AM on August 2, 2009 [4 favorites]

Also, wow, these are neat.
posted by box at 10:24 AM on August 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Nicholson: So is your name January because you were born then?

Jones: It’s a coincidence. It’s from a book called
Once is Not Enough by Jacqueline Susann. Bad book.

I don't know whether this factoid about her name should make me despise her or fall in love with her. Help!

On another note, when was the last time Nicholson turned in a seriously good performance? I saw him in "The Departed" and it was sort of like "Meh, I've seen this movie before."
posted by blucevalo at 10:29 AM on August 2, 2009

1. Ooooh, I just hate that Pete Campbell! He's such a twit. But it's pretty clear that his parents love his brother more, so there's that.

2. January being named after a character in a Jackie Susann novel is so many kinds of awesome. Blucevalo, go with "love."
posted by scratch at 10:34 AM on August 2, 2009

Aw, nuts. Was hoping this thread would be about this January Jones.
posted by jtron at 11:36 AM on August 2, 2009

My new explanation for when I am eyed askance: "My people are Nordic."
posted by exogenous at 11:50 AM on August 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Useless to hold reasons for people's given names against them. I think Vonnegut said it best regarding his sister:

She used to deny that she was really an Alice. I agreed. Everybody agreed. Sometime in a dream maybe I will find out what her real name was.

I'm an "Alice" myself but I still try to see what he meant rather than taking it personally.
posted by skyper at 12:05 PM on August 2, 2009

Thanks for this! I love, love, love Mad Men. As others have said, everyone does such an exquisite job. The writing, the acting, the dialog, the design are all incredible. Seeing Robert Morse onscreen again is a bonus.
posted by The Deej at 12:50 PM on August 2, 2009

Me too, Deej! Seeing J. Pierrepont Finch running Sterling Cooper could only be more fun if he somehow dropped in a mention of his previous stint as VP of Advertising for the World-Wide Wicket Company...
posted by nicwolff at 1:16 PM on August 2, 2009

Stupendous show. Cannot wait for August 18th!

I believe it airs on Sunday the 16th.
posted by NoMich at 1:37 PM on August 2, 2009

Pete? I'd say he's pretty much all bad.

I love Pete. I know it's wrong, but I do. He's so needy and wounded and something completely illogical inside of me wants to pick him up and hold him to my chest and make everything all better.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:46 PM on August 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

I was born in 1961. In addition to all the other excellent dramatic aspects of Mad Men, the extraordinary sixties versimilude resonates with all kinds of half-remembered things from my early childhood, yielding frequent frissons indeed. When I was a kid and drew a "lady," she always had hair with a big curl-up at the end. My father swears that any executive worth his salt in those days had a fully stocked, frequently used bar.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 1:47 PM on August 2, 2009

I disagree with his opening premise though; Don Draper is not the center of the show, nor is he a red herring for January Jones.

It's actually possible for Draper to be the center of the show and for everyone else to still be fully formed, amazing, well-acted characters. Although you might want to laud the show's ensemble and are happy that you're watching a show where the main character is only part of the rich tapestry on display, Draper is the core of every episode and it is his lens that reflects and refracts every other character as well as the structure and plot. He is most certainly the protagonist of the show, just as Tony Soprano was the protagonist of The Sopranos. But there's plenty else going on, too, and it's all amazing and wonderful to witness.

I think whoever wrote the intro copy (I doubt it's Nicholson -- he's referenced in the third person in the final paragraph of the intro as "none other than Jack Nicholson," and while I'm sure Jack's ego is hefty enough for him to think such a phrase, I believe he isn't gauche enough to use it) just wants Draper to be Betty's red herring because she's the one being interviewed. Betty is yang to Draper's yin, but then again, so many other characters also fill that role for Draper.
posted by incessant at 2:59 PM on August 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

Pete's needy and wounded, but he's also selfish and completely lacking empathy (this vicious-circle duality, I think, is a big part of why he's an interesting character). Sure, you're cradling him like a baby bird now, but wait until (spoiler) he's trying to pimp you to editors to sell his Jack London-lite fiction (it should have been Hemingway).
posted by box at 3:14 PM on August 2, 2009

He's so needy and wounded and something completely illogical inside of me wants to pick him up and hold him to my chest and make everything all better.

The first time I heard something like this was from my sister, and at first I was totally shocked because I had NEVER thought of him that way, and then I considered the last few guys she'd dated and suddenly it all became clear.
posted by hermitosis at 4:47 PM on August 2, 2009

The list of Mad Men characters more interesting than Betty Draper is long, long, long.
posted by fleacircus at 5:01 PM on August 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

I've worked with umpteen Petes in advertising and marketing. Youngsters fresh out of school, trying too hard to impress you with the way they play what they superficially see as the game. And wholly convinced that they immediately deserve all the perqs and respect the veterans enjoy simply by being on the same field with them.

Loathesome things, the Petes.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:07 PM on August 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Holy shit, I just realized that "perk" is short for perquisite!
posted by synaesthetichaze at 5:33 PM on August 2, 2009

Let's be fair, Pete does have some chops. Squeezing out the Kennedy TV spots in swing districts by filling up all the available ad time? Genius!
posted by infinitewindow at 6:07 PM on August 2, 2009

Yeah, but it doesn't compare to having your dad's mobbed-up bootlegger buddies give you Illinois on a silver platter.
posted by box at 6:25 PM on August 2, 2009

When I was a kid and drew a "lady," she always had hair with a big curl-up at the end.

Born the same year - I did this too -- still do. I never thought about it. Wow.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:05 PM on August 2, 2009

my favorite generation gap moment:

Jones: I never really thought of having a strategy. I probably should have one. I mean, I’ve already been doing this for 13 years and I still feel like a newbie.

Nicholson: A what?

Jones: A newbie—someone who is new at this.

PS I am hopelessly in love with JJ :)
PPS Don't you want to *hear* this interview? I do!
posted by anser at 8:30 PM on August 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

Pete has a face like an egg.
posted by brujita at 12:39 AM on August 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

I love Pete, in a guilty pleasure sort of way. I love when he threatens to expose Draper, so sly and smug, only to be one-upped by Draper's boldness. I love when he gets protective over Peggy, when he shuns his wife, and when he sits in an armchair with a shotgun because what the heck is going through his brain?

But this is the guy that plays Pete, and it's a little weird.

As for Betty Draper ... she had sex with Dr. Awesome. I'm very conflicted about this.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:01 AM on August 3, 2009

There's still an Interview magazine
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:10 PM on August 3, 2009

Yeah, uh, Interview is fun and all, but they have one of these every month.

re: Mad Men, I got to chat with Matt Weiner a few months ago and was completely taken aback by how the show's issues are, to a one, his issues ("the highest compliment you could have paid my parents was that you couldn't tell they were Jews") and how he's bold to the point of clumsiness in discussing them guilelessly as if nobody could understand a word. He has four kids and advised us young girls not to try to be like Joan, self-possessed and independent, that such paths lead to dead ends. Also he tripped into saying that we didn't have adult sexuality enough to appreciate the gender nuances in the show, and touted his cred as one who was schooled among lesbians, back when lesbians were lesbians. ...to a class of Critical Studies in Media MA students. Performance Art?

I love the show, but all the pondering about whether the social issues in the show are contained in the past, or exorcised or exacerbated by the retelling were strangely and microscopically contextualized by the encounter of the personality behind them. Now to me it's more of a soap opera like any other with slight, gimmicky cultural contexts tossed in and AWESOME jewelry.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:32 PM on August 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

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