Interview: ‘Mad Men’ star John Slattery discusses Roger Sterling’s long, strange trip

In yesterday’s first interview of “Mad Men” week, Jessica Pare taught us about the challenges of promoting a show that you’re not allowed to preview at all. Of course, she also talked about Megan’s gifts as an actress and about the allure of Dark Don. I still like the interview, even if she wouldn’t admit she was in Hawaii.
But not all of the “Mad Men” interviews I did focused on the future or on things the actors couldn’t talk about.
A four-time Emmy nominee, John Slattery saw Roger Sterling go through some changes last season, fighting back from the brink of obsolescence with the help of enlightenment gleaned in one of the great LSD trips ever captured on film/video. Where does Season 6 find Roger in his journey? Well, without spoiling specific details, Slattery was able to give some insight into the character’s progression.
In addition to acting on “Mad Men,” Slattery has also become a key part of the show’s directing stable, helming the exceptional “Signal 30” last season, as well as “Blowing Smoke” and “The Rejected.” Slattery directed two more episodes this season and we talked about his learning curve behind the camera and the unique challenges of achieving the writer-specific “Mad Men” vision. 
Click through for the full interview, which manages to be thoughtful and interesting without spoiling anything at all…
HitFix: Last season it felt like we saw Roger go through a process of reexamining his position as something of a class clown at a relatively advanced age and realizing that it may not be a satisfactory life. Has it been fun to play that introspective side to the character? 
John Slattery: That’s an interesting way to put it. I think maybe he is a late bloomer. Yeah, maybe he’s at this stage trying to figure out something that’s going to sustain a little more interest than just the things he’s been up to before… through this inadvertent acid experience. I think he’s opening. I think he’s willing to change or willing to do what he has to to find some sort of sustained meaning in the whole thing. I think given the focus on youth that exists now, that existed probably more then, and being the age he is, there are all kinds of things that enter into the question and I think he’s interested in something new.
HitFix: This realization could have been negative, but the way you’re explaining it sounds like you take it as positive progress?