After a few seasons of playing “Mad Men’s” increasingly frosty Betty Draper Francis, is January Jones is hinting at a possible thaw coming for Season Five?
As she returns to the role of the ever-dissatisfied ‘60s housewife, Jones tells PopcornBiz about finding a different side to Betty, leaning on Jon Hamm behind the scenes and how she feels about those constrictive undergarments of the era at the end of each season.
What was really exciting about where you got to take Betty this time around?
It just continues to be challenging to me, that Matt Weiner writes, at least for Betty…she feels almost like a completely different person from season to season. He knows I like a challenge, and so I think he writes her a little bit different. I mean, she's ever evolving, sometimes badly, sometimes negatively and sometimes positively, but that just continued for me – but it was in a different direction so I could sink my teeth into something a little bit different than you've seen.
Is each season a little bit of a history lesson for you? Do you learn something each time out about the era?
Yeah, definitely. I think that a lot of it just goes over my head, though – a lot of the historical references or the things that we address in the time period. If I don't ask about it, I don't ever even realize what they're talking about half of the time.
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How was it having Jon Hamm behind the camera?
It was amazing. I've said it before, but if I have a question about my character or about anything that I'm doing acting wise he's the one that I usually go to, because first of all he's there and we trust each other. So it just felt very natural to have him there. I obviously respect him and it was totally natural, easy. He's really good at it.
Is there something from that era that you've fallen in love with as a result of being a part of 'Mad Men'?
Well, you're asking me this at the end of a season, so I'm sort of over my girdle and my hairstyle! But there are many things: I love the fashion. I love the certain glamour about it. But I'm really happy that I'm in the now.
Did getting the arc of the show locked in help you guys at all, knowing that Matt knows where the show is going to go?
Not me. I mean, maybe Matt, but it didn't affect me in any way. It's good to know that it's going to go a couple more years, and if I get asked back I will be happy to come back. That's exciting. But it didn't affect my season at all.
What still gets you excited to get up, go to work and be Betty?
Just that she's ever evolving. I always feel like I'm inhabiting a different person each season which feels very realistic just because I feel like as a person I change all the time. I just don't feel like she's ever the same. As an actor it's a lot of fun for me.