Christina Hendricks, age 35, has been on a career trajectory more similar to Mad Men‘s Don Draper than office manager Joan Harris. She began her career playing the opportunistic intern on Showtime’s Beggars and Choosers, which led to a production deal with John Wells. Now she has her first Primetime Emmy nomination for drama supporting actress, along with Sharon Gless (Burn Notice), Rose Byrne (Damages), Christine Baranski (The Good Wife) and castmate Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men). Hendricks spoke with Ray Richmond for Deadline Hollywood about fame, Emmys and why she’s proud not to be a Size 2.
Deadline Hollywood: Can you go anywhere without being recognized?
Christina Hendricks: It’s taken me some time to adjust to that. It’s been a little bit of a whirlwind, going 0 to 60 in a couple of years. But what you strive for is career longevity. The success of the show hopefully contributes to that. I had done 4 series in four years leading into Mad Men, so I’ve been plugging away at things for quite some time. The show has built over our four seasons, and it’s pretty weird to all of a sudden have people recognizing my name for the first time. It’s a really surreal feeling. But I’m not quite at the point where I feel the need to wear disguises in public.
DH: Is it weird to be a sex symbol?
CH: You know, the good part about that is maybe I’ve contributed to helping women appreciate themselves the way they are, that we don’t all have to be a Size 2 to be beautiful. Anything I’ve done to help change people’s minds about that is something to be proud of, I think.
DH: And were you surprised by the Emmy nomination?
CH: I was. It’s pretty awesome. It was amazing enough just to be on this show the past couple of years when it won. That’s been incredible. But this is even better. Matt [Matthew Weiner] gave my character Joan a lot of really amazing material this past season. That’s why I got the Emmy nomination. You won’t hear me complaining.
DH: Can’t you complain about something?
CH: Well, it’s hard being away from my husband [Geoffrey Arend] who has been off shooting the TV series Body of Proof in Rhode Island while I’ve been here. But they’re incredible generous at Mad Men and allow me to do cram sessions with my scenes so I can get some time to finish a new movie I’m in called Detachment with Blythe Danner and James Caan and this amazing cast.
DH: So you’re going to be a movie star now?
CH: I have to tell you, if this show were to go on forever, I’d be perfectly happy – and I’d never leave. It’s been extraordinary, certainly the most exciting project I’ve ever had the opportunity to work on. It’s unrivaled as far as I’m concerned in terms of what I get to do, the quality of the material. Everyone is so meticulous and dedicated. It’s really a dream job. I hope to be here for a while.
DH: Yeah, but all of that aside, when are you out of there?
CH: [laughing] I don’t think that will be happening.
DH: What are you looking to do next? A comedy? A musical?
CH: Oh, I’d love to do a musical. Something whimsical would also be great. Detachment is this very dark drama that I’m excited about, but maybe it’s time to go completely in the other direction after that. But really, I’m just looking for material that excites me more than any specific genre. It just needs to be good.