Interview: ‘Mad Men’ co-star Jessica Paré on Megan, Don and ‘Zou Bisou Bisou’

Having already reviewed the “Mad Men” season premiere and interviewed Matt Weiner and John Slattery about different aspects of the premiere, I had time for one more “Mad Men”-related conversation today, with the show’s newest regular cast member – and one of last night’s most prominent – Jessica Paré. I spoke with Paré about how Megan went from a minor character (described in the casting notes, simply, as “brunette”) to her current status, how Megan feels about Don (and vice versa), and, of course, both “Zou Bisou Bisou” and the apartment cleaning scene (embedded below), all coming up just as soon as I bring things down to a sotto voce

First of all, at what point did you know that they were actually going to make your performance of “Zou Bisou Bisou” something that people could buy?

I think we talked about it at the time that we were recording and shooting. But I don’t know. I had no idea that people would actually want to buy it.

When you started on the show last season, Megan was very much in the background. Did you have any idea of what the role would become?

None, absolutely. In fact, when I auditioned, there were no scenes for the character. I was auditioning with scenes from previous seasons. I had no idea what the character was. It was vaguely described as “brunette.” And then shooting the show, I didn’t know what, if any, storyline was ahead for me. I was perfectly content to be in the background for as long as they would have me. It was a nice surprise, to say the absolute least.

So at what point did Matt tell you what he had planned? Or did you start to get an inkling even before that?

I think it was right before the script for the last episode came out last season. My ring finger was measured by props, and that was a little bit curious. But I didn’t want to read anything into it, because I didn’t want to be disappointed. So I didn’t actually even allow myself to think about it until I got a call from Matt a few days later – who explained that, yes, indeed, my wildest dreams vis-a-vis the show was about to come true.

How did that feel?

(laughs) It was amazing! I’ve been working in this business for 14 years. I love it. There’s nothing that I love more. Working on this show is a dream come true, it’s the best writing out there, period. I’ve been a huge fan of the show, and being on it has been the most fulfilling thing that I can think of creatively or otherwise.