To play the part of Leonard, Mr. Weiner said he told the casting
director, "I need someone who's not famous and can cry." The first
person who read for the part, the character actor Evan Arnold, got
the role. The show's costume designer, Janie Bryant, put Mr. Arnold
in an "invisible sweater," and the forgotten-father character came
to life on the screen, eventually sobbing and breaking Don out of
his own stupor in the process.
That Famous Coke Ad
Plenty of viewers perceived something nearly sinister in
Coca-Cola's "Hilltop" commercial when it closed out the series,
seeing Don's seeming enlightenment juxtaposed with an ad
appropriating the peace-and-love movement to hawk sugar water.
Mr. Weiner said "Hilltop" deserves more credit than that, and
that viewers today are too cynical.
"I don't think there's enough empathy in the world," Mr. Weiner
said. "It disappears."
People who find the ad corny might also be missing out on the
historical context, Mr. Weiner suggested. "Five years before that,
black people and white people couldn't even be in an ad together,"
Joan as Icon
Joan Holloway closed out the series threatening to bring justice to
McCann via the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, raising a
child on her own and later starting her own production company.
"I didn't know Joan was a main character until I met Christina
Hendricks," Mr. Weiner said. "I didn't know Joan, and I definitely
didn't think Joan would end up this single mom, a feminist looking
Joan's feminist choices weren't driven by philosophy. "This
woman made a practical decision not to take shit anymore," he
Whack-a-Mole of Emotions
One of Don's defining qualities throughout the series was a
refusal to talk about his feelings, which Mr. Weiner compared to a
game of whack-a-mole game. in which, when Don suppressed an
emotion, something would come to the surface in another way,
usually through womanizing or drinking.
When Don succeeded in work, his marriage often took a hit. After
he used Betty as an example of the target audience in a Heineken
pitch, she became upset and felt embarrassed. Later in the episode,
she tells Don not to come home. "You can have the physical
experience of knowing that he just ruined his marriage because he's
so good at his job," Mr. Weiner said.
Mr. Weiner said he read journals, including those of John
Cheever, as well as Michel Houellebecq's "The Elementary
Particles," Fairfax Cone's "The Blue Streak: Some Observations,
Mostly about Advertising" and classic literature for
In other revelations, Mr. Weiner said:
- By the end of season four, Mr. Weiner knew Betty Draper would
die of cancer.
- Mr. Weiner hadn't known Peggy and Stan would end up
- If he ever does a show with Netflix, Mr. Weiner wants a deal
where episodes would be staggered out so people could have a shared
experience while watching the show, as opposed to
"I can't believe this happened, and I'm so grateful we got to do
it, and we were allowed to end it how and when we wanted to," Mr.
Weiner said. "I wanted it to feel that there was a vision and a
point to the entire thing."