No one is more surprised than Kevin Rahm that his “Mad Men” character, Ted Chaough, has become a major player in the AMC drama’s sixth season.
“Matt (Weiner, the show’s creator) had told me that there were big things coming for the character, but I didn’t see it.”
Rahm’s character appeared in a handful episodes in past seasons as the boss of a competing advertising firm. But the recent merger of his and Don Draper’s companies — along with a shocking kiss with Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) — has thrust Ted to the forefront of the 1960s ad world drama.
In a recent interview, the one-time “Desperate Housewives” actor compared leading man Jon Hamm to Hollywood megastar George Clooney and discussed why he’s staying tight-lipped about that Ted/Peggy lip lock.
Q: Initially you wanted to be a lawyer?
A: My intent was to go to law school. … And then what I realized quickly is what I wanted was to be on “L.A. Law.” And ironically now I get to work with Mr. (Harry) Hamlin.
Q: You also share the screen with Jon Hamm. What’s that like?
A: The first scene two years ago when we met in the Benihana on the Honda episode, it was daunting. I mean Jon’s the nicest guy, a genuinely good guy and so he makes it easier. … He’s just a good guy. I call it the “Clooney effect,” when you don’t get famous till you’re 30 or in your mid-30s.
Q: What do fans usually want to talk about?
A: They all want to know what is going to happen (with Peggy and Ted), if something is going to happen and if it does … when.
Q: So what exactly was the deal with the Ted-Peggy kiss?
A: You can argue that it’s out of gratitude. You could argue that he’s completely in love with her and he’s fighting it.
Q: It is impossible to get spoilers from “Mad Men” actors. Why is that?
A: For threat of life and limb! It’s been pounded into us. Matt (Weiner) gives a speech before every table read and he says, “Welcome. We’re really happy to have you here. You’re part of the family now and if you say anything we will destroy you.”
So yeah, he explains the commercial viability of the show is that no one knows. And that’s rare these days. … That’s what creates the buzz about Bob Benson and Ted and Peggy and Don. What’s going to happen to Don?
Q: I understand you recently celebrated your one year anniversary with your wife, Amy Lonkar, a cardiothoracic surgeon. How has married life been?
A: It’s the best decision I ever made. She grounds me in a great way. … She puts my job in perspective real quick. You know any time people are talking about Emmys you start to think I’m pretty cool, and then I talk to her about her day and I go “Yeah, we (actors) play. We play.”