In a surreal case of life imitating art, news broke today that Jon Hamm, who plays alcoholic Don Draper on AMC’s Mad Men, has completed a 30-day rehab program for alcohol abuse. The stint in rehab was completed before the start of the launch campaign for the final Mad Men episodes and has not interfered with Hamm’s promotional duties. (Production on the final episodes wrapped back in July.)
Hamm has been working hard, joining the rest of the cast and creator Matt Weiner for a slew of engagements and photo ops in New York for the past week, including screenings at Museum of Modern Art and The Film Society of Lincoln Center, an interview on NBC’s Today, an exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image and an unveiling of a Mad Men bench.
The rehab news, released this afternoon by TMZ and confirmed by Hamm’s rep, comes as the marketing campaign for the show’s final installment is moving to Los Angeles, with Hamm expected to attend the show’s L.A. premiere Wednesday night as planned and complete the rest of his promotional obligations.
While he is unlikely to address the rehab stint on the red carpet, the news does change the narrative in the final promotional push for AMC’s celebrated first original series.
It also raises the question about the toll of playing an anti-hero. James Gandolfini had talked about the difficulties portraying Tony Soprano, having to go back to a dark and unredeemable character year after year with the intensity such a complex man requires. That intensity had been linked to Gandolfini’s documented drug and alcohol problems.
Hamm hinted at a similar internal struggle playing arrogant womanizer Don Draper in his interview for a GQ cover story, also released this week. “You’re kind of hoping for redemption, and it’s not forthcoming,” he said. “To consistently come in and be the bummer was always like, ‘Oh, that’s not fun.’” He did add, “But at the same time, it’s been like the greatest obstacle course in the world. A puzzle to ﬁgure out.”
Hamm is seeking his eighth consecutive Emmy nomination and first win for his role on the 1960s drama.