Hubbub: John Slattery, Bonus Interview

By Jason Schwartz | Boston Magazine |

Is there anything you can tell us about the finale? Anyone’s foot going to get run over by a tractor this year? I can’t tell you anything because I’d lose my job. Matt Weiner is pretty adamant about all of us remaining closed-lipped about what happens. It’s not dull; I’ll say that.

He seems like he’d be sort of tough. Well, he has a really specific vision in his head. He wants what’s in his head to end up on the screen, which is difficult, given all the hands that get hold of it in between. [In the episodes I directed], you know, you think you’re doing something, you think you’re shooting it a certain way, and then all of a sudden the camera moves a little bit or the frame is different than you thought or you didn’t have time to get a shot that you needed. Getting that pure vision in his head to the screen, he has to overcome a lot of impediments along the way.

When you were directing, did anything you saw surprise you? Experiencing everything from a different angle, maybe? I think the surprise was how fast the time goes. The schedule is very short; it’s eight days. So we shoot an episode in eight days and it’s a lot of material that needs to be done in a very specific way. You really need to be prepared — and then you also need to be prepared for all those plans to go out the window and to have to improvise at the last minute. You know, it’s 1965, so you can’t look in a certain direction because you see a building that wasn’t there in 1965 or a telephone poll, or you know, traffic, or whatever the case may be.

Huh, that’s interesting. Yeah, it’s definitely a different experience with how fast the clock goes. You know, you can sit there as an actor and go, “God, will this day ever end?” You feel like it takes forever, and meanwhile, the director who’s standing next to you is experiencing it in a completely different way.

One last question: Do you feel like your Boston roots come out in your acting in any way? You mean a nice, sarcastic Boston delivery? You know, I think it’s actually an untapped mine of comedy. There’s a particular kind of Boston spin. So many people from Boston that I know, particularly my family, are pretty adept at knocking you down a peg in a very specific and succinct way. I think it’s a particular skill that people from Boson have, which I admire.

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