You are not imagining things. That is Jon Hamm fully turned out in 1960s-era attire for “Bad Times at the El Royale” (now in theaters), the first time he has revisited the era since his career-defining, Emmy-winning role as Don Draper on AMC’s “Mad Men.”
But Hamm is a long way from Madison Avenue (and Draper’s exquisite wardrobe) as traveling salesman Laramie Seymour Sullivan, who checks into the once-glamorous El Royale resort. Sullivan’s loud demeanor and louder plaid suit jacket are so out there that Hamm knew it was a big step from his famous character.
Q. So what did you say when they called about this “El Royale” part, which meant revisiting the “Mad Men” era?
A. Obviously, I’m hyperaware of the awareness that comes with being me in a ’60s period piece. I’ve lost roles because of that. I’ve talked people out of casting me in roles. It’s too reminiscent. You don’t want that thing. But this is so different, Sullivan’s so flamboyant. He’s so not Don Draper.
Q. That “El Royale” set is so elaborate. Were there real ice machines?
A. There were no ice machines, but there were definitely beds and Bibles, that’s for sure. I could have slept there. In fact, it probably would have been better to sleep there. It’s definitely the biggest set I’ve ever been on. I’ve had that immersive feel certainly on “Mad Men,” when you walk through the office and all the papers and all the minutiae are period-accurate. It really does help. It help forms the way the movie looks and the way it feels being there.
Q. I have to go to Batman, because the idea is so out there about you being in line as the next Caped Crusader.
A. It’s on social media, but it’s not really a thing. You know that, right?
Q.There are no actual discussions going on with movie studios. But you’ve been anointed by social media. Have you started amping up the workouts?
A. I have to keep working out anyway because being 47 [is hard]. I’m trying to keep up with everybody named Chris.
Q. Then settle the global debate. Who’s the best Chris: Pratt, Hemsworth or Evans?
A. The one that’s in my movie, Chris Hemsworth. I’ve met him in passing, he got in as I was leaving. But he’s a lovely guy. Most of my experiences with Chrises have been fantastic, in their own way.
Q. Fair enough. Best movie Batman?
A. Probably Michael Keaton in 1989’s “Batman.” I was familiar with the 1960s television show with Adam West and the comics. I read them a lot as a kid. But the Tim Burton “Batman,” the first one, had such a cool-yet-campy, fun dark energy. I appreciated it when they brought in [Christian] Bale, and when they brought in [Ben] Affleck, they kind of turned the series a little bit. There’s a reason that story and that character still continue to entertain and enthrall audiences in kind of the same way that James Bond does. I’m sure whatever they do next will be really cool.
Q. Now you’re working on “Top Gun: Maverick.” How intense is the security?
A. You are handed the script in an envelope. And the person who hands it to you sit and waits until you have finished the script, and then you give it back. It’s very hush-hush, as it should be. It’s very exciting. Who doesn’t want to see Maverick back in the seat?
Q. Can you just tell us your character’s name?
A. No, I cannot. But it is a cool name.