Don Draper may not be the most supportive romantic partner, but actor Jon Hamm got a chance to prove his own mettle to girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt by playing co-star, co-producer and all-around support system on her latest film “Friends With Kids.”
Westfeldt, the writer, director and lead actress behind the film, and Hamm have been in a relationship since 1997, well before both her breakout project “Kissing Jessica Stein” in 2001 and his career explosion with “Mad Men” in 2007. So Hamm, who has a supporting role in the new movie, tells PopcornBiz he was ready to help her get another film going from the ground up – and he was glad they were in it together.
On soldiering through a frugal independent film shoot through rough conditions:
It was a lot of work, but the good kind of hard. We finished principle photography on that in February of 2011, and when we called wrap we both kind of looked at each other and thought, 'I can't believe we just did that.' We did it exactly the wrong way. We had no money. I mean, everything that could've gone wrong weather-wise did. It was the worst winter in New York in 45 years. It was three feet of snow every two weeks. I told her 'Well, you know, we can do this one of two ways: we can either have the attitude of, like, “Tough sh*t, let’s go, let’s do it,” or we can fold and kind of dither.' So, we went with option A and it snowed two feet of snow, and at six in the morning we woke up and we didn't have a grip truck and everyone was stuck in Jersey, and the P.A.s couldn't get there because the trains were shut down. It was like, 'Well, how are we going to do it? Let’s get a guy with a car. We'll get that. We'll get a shovel. We'll dig it out. We'll figure it out and we'll make our day.' And we did.
On when to be a collaborative colleague and when to be a boyfriend:
It was both. I mean, it was kind of like there was very little separation by the nature of it. We were very much in that kind of collegiate sense of like, 'Let’s just do it. Let’s just get it done. It's finals. We have to get through it. We have to get it done. We have to do it.' I can be, when pushed, a hard worker sometimes. She needs less of a push. So it was basically like we were very complimentary in that way.
On taking work home with them:
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It was kind of a 24/7 gig, at least for the production. And then in post-production it was a little less stressful, but that's a hard thing. In the same way that directing ‘Mad Men’ gave me a whole new appreciation for how the sausage gets made, so to speak, watching her go through that, I will never say a bad thing about a movie again because somebody made it and they did their best.
On whether all the hard work brought them closer together:
Very much so, I think. We were very proud and we put a lot of our own equity – and sweat equity – and emotional equity into all of that and that can sometimes not go so well, and it went really well. I just hope to God on March 9th that people buy tickets!