‘Mad Men’ creator muses on series and that Coca-Cola commercial

21 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Don Draper Wrote That Coke Ad, After All.

It’s not enough to deliver a satisfying series finale to a beloved televison show. Anyone who expected Matthew Weiner to clinically dissect the meaning of Sunday’s ambiguous finale of “Mad Men” probably wasn’t paying much attention to the show, which over seven seasons refrained from hard judgment of human behavior, favoring instead complicated texture.EW Senior Writer Jeff Labrecque tackles the burning questions the Mad Men finale just didn’t have time to remedy, which can now can only be answered by fans’ imaginations.

When Mad Men premiered eight years ago, it felt at times like the series was all but glorifying alcoholism, with those gin-soaked client meetings in wood-paneled bars and brilliant ideas springing from the splitting head of a hungover creative, supine on his office couch. Modern fandom demands more than that, so after a few days of “decompression” following the Coke-and-a-smile ending to seven seasons of Mad Men, Matthew Weiner sat down with author friend A.M. But in an appearance at the New York Public Library on Wednesday, in what he has said would be his only discussion of the show after the finale, at least for the time being, Mr. Indeed, among the items Matthew Weiner & Co. donated to the Smithsonian this week—to be displayed as part of a forthcoming exhibition on American culture—was a vintage bottle of that quintessential American spirit, Canadian Club. Weiner contradicted those who saw cynicism in the series’s concluding moments, which cut from the show’s hero, Don Draper, meditating beatifically by the ocean, to the smiling, singing young people of Coca-Cola’s 1971 “Hilltop” commercial. “I think it’s the best ad ever made,” he said. “That ad is so much of its time, so beautiful — I don’t think it’s as villainous as the snark of today thinks it is.” In the roughly 90-minute talk with the writer A.

The chat marked his first (and likely only) interview to touch on Sunday’s series finale. “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,” he said. “I wanted it to feel that there was a vision and a point to the entire thing. … I’m so pleased that people enjoyed it and seemed to enjoy it exactly as it was intended. But I’m saying that people who find that ad corny are kind of… they’re probably experiencing a lot of life that way, and they’re missing out on something,” said Weiner.

During the 85-minute conversation, he offered insight into the development of the show’s storylines over time as well as surprises that came as a result of collaboration in the writers’ room. You can’t get a 100-percent approval rating, or you’ve done something dumb.” The Hollywood Reporter recaps the most intriguing revelations from the discussion (among them candid thoughts about literature, therapy, Al Gore and Richard Nixon): Yes, Don Draper created the Coke ad. The last scenes of the series features Don hugging a stranger at a retreat and meditating with hippies, before the episode cuts to the 1971 Coca-Cola “Hilltop” commercial, to infer that Don returns to McCann-Erickson and creates that ad. “I have never been clear, and I have always been able to live with ambiguities,” said Weiner. “In the abstract, I did think, why not end this show with the greatest commercial ever made? Weiner discussed how the show’s final season completed the story’s survey of the 1960s, which found progressive ideals giving way to conservative values and the rise of Richard M.

It opened with Ken Cosgrove’s (wealthy) wife encouraging him to abandon corporate life and “buy that farm”— Ken, however, opts for a job at Dow. Nixon. “This whole last season,” he said, “was the idea that the revolution failed in some way, and it’s time to deal with what you can control, which is yourself. But it was nice to have your cake and eat it too, in terms of what is advertising, who is Don and what is that thing?” That commercial shouldn’t be read cynically. “I did hear rumblings of people talking about the ad being corny. People were turning inward,” he said. “He takes to the road and finally comes to terms with the worst shame of his life — taking that man’s name,” Weiner said. “We realize he has no one.

Joan’s real-estate tycoon, Richard, has more than enough cash to keep the two of them happily unemployed in Key West—yet Joan chooses to start her own business. This turning inward.” On the show, this journey took Don Draper on the road that led eventually to an Esalen-like spiritual retreat in Northern California. Don walks out of a boardroom to chase the ghost of Dick Whitman from Wisconsin to Oklahoma to Utah to the Pacific Coast—only to ditch life as a dharma bum and (we surmise) return to Madison Avenue. In the finale, we bid farewell to Joan, Pete, and Peggy in a montage: Pete boards his new company jet, Joan fields business calls in her makeshift home office, and Peggy and Stan share a romantic, candlelit dinner. Weiner noted that the last two episodes were hard on star Jon Hamm because he did not have the luxury of big final scenes with his longtime co-workers. “I wanted to see Don on his own.

We loved the idea of her realizing her purpose in life right when she ran out of time. … I think there’s a lesson to be learned about the randomness of things, and also, she obviously had some predispositions and some fairly seriously cancer-causing behavior.” “One of the biggest arguments of the season was I did not want to end Betty and Pete’s story the week before. Weiner said that the idea behind the scene, in which Draper tearfully hugged the man, was that “the audience would feel that he was embracing a part of himself, or them, and that they were heard.” Others associated with “Mad Men” previously weighed in on the finale, most notably Mr. These accomplishments with regard to specific historical details are impressive, but what I’ll miss most about the series has less to do with nailing some specific aspect of the midcentury advertising industry than with capturing the universal aspects of corporate life. Everything would’ve been like five seconds long.” Weiner credited the writers room with talking him down from making the wrong decision, and not for the first time. “So many horrible mistakes have been avoided [by their collective wisdom over the years].” “We try to be the audience. … You want to be responsive to the audience but you really want to be true to the characters. … The most sophisticated part of it is that you want to fool the audience in the sense that you want to surprise and delight them. But at the same time, all of the characters’ happiness felt like it had a weight to it that we hadn’t seen before — an earned stability that might at least make these moments last a little longer.

Viewers have since debated whether the show was suggesting that Don had simply found inner peace or had, in fact, conceived the ad itself. (The commercial was conceived by an actual McCann Erickson creative director named Bill Backer.) “My take is that, the next day, he wakes up in this beautiful place, and has this serene moment of understanding, and realizes who he is,” Mr. —Peter Weber Her flavor — toasted coconut with sea salt — hit grocery store shelves earlier this month, and she told The Huffington Post that she’s certain it will become “habit forming.” It was a “long and interesting process” creating a cracker, and Stewart said she tried several different combinations before selecting coconut and sea salt. The rule that we sort of used is like, ‘What would really happen?’” Paul Holdengräber, the accented director of the NYPL’s interview series, made the unfortunate, but hardly unprecedented, error of introducing Weiner as Weener. When costume designer Janie Bryant told him it was time to put Don in denim, Weiner said, “Oh my god — jeans and that incredible flannel shirt — the guy is definitely out of uniform.” Among other topics he touched on was the trajectory of Christina Hendricks’ Joan character. Weiner correctly him immediately, trying to laugh it off with a joke about the ease with which Holdengräber had pronounced Werner Herzog’s name during his prologue, and presuming the host to be German. “That is one of the reasons that [my family] left that place,” he said with a tight smile. [Note: Holdengräber was apparently born in Texas and raised in Belgium.] Don Draper may have looked Kennedy-esque, but Weiner could hardly go 10 minutes without returning to his fascination with Nixon and repeatedly drawing parallels to Don’s unlikely path to wealth and success.

We all like salt.” Stewart said she’s not really a snacker — when she does grab a bite to eat between meals, it’s fruit — but believes a well-stocked pantry must have a few different types of crackers. She wouldn’t serve her Triscuits alone, but would add crab meat and lime or avocado and hot pepper, and also suggests turning them into an elevated s’more by topping a cracker with melted milk chocolate and a marshmallow. He was talked out of having Joan go through with an abortion by a female writer on staff, Maria Jacquemetton, who argued that she would not miss the chance to have a baby — which then greatly influenced the character’s development. “I love the fact that it’s not philosophical for her,” Weiner said of Joan’s evolution as a feminist. “This woman made a practical decision not to take any s— any more,” he said. Remember “Shut the Door, Have a Seat,” when everyone else was sitting around trying to figure out how to sneak off to found their new agency, until Joan marched in, announced that she had made a list and hired movers, and got the show on the road?

Nixon, I see myself.” But Weiner couldn’t resist going further, delving into both Dicks’ poverty-stricken childhoods, and their determined drive to reinvent themselves and succeed after wartime service. “The idea that that guy, with no breeding, no Ivy League… and no friends [gets out of the Navy, and six years later he’s the vice president of the United States]. Weiner that it was right for the character. (On the show, she planned to have an abortion but then changed her mind.) “I didn’t think Joan would end up as a single mom feminist looking for child care on her own,” Mr. Of course, you have to present them on a gleaming silver tray alongside Waterford goblets and perfectly folded linen napkins, but you already knew that. It’s well known that Weiner disclosed Don’s inspired idea to Hamm early on, but he also knew Betty’s fate at that point too. “People die of cancer in the US. Joan hasn’t changed, but the world around her has — whereas once her competence at reviewing TV scripts created a job for a man to replace her, now her competence at management is creating a business niche for her to dominate.

That’s the surprise — the world may not have changed enough to get rid of creeps like Ferg Donnelly, but it has changed just enough to let Joan run circles around them. (#TeamHollowayHarris) That’s thrilling to see. He had never actually read another book with a “Mad Men” connection, Frank O’Hara’s “Meditation in An Emergency,” which appeared prominently in Season 2, until it was incorporated into the story. The Muslim-majority country is not wealthy — the UN’s 2013 human development report stated that one-third of the population lives off of $1.25 or less a day, and thousands of migrants have left for Europe, with many dying in the process — so it is also asking other nations to send medicine, bedding, tents, and household items so it can set up “habitable camps with decent sanitary conditions.” In a statement, the government said it was primarily reaching out to offer aid because Muslims were in peril: “The government of Gambia notes with grave concern the inhumane condition of the Rohingya people of Myanmar — especially those referred to as ‘boat people’ — currently drifting in the seas off the coast of Malaysia and Indonesia. As human beings, more so fellow Muslims, it is a sacred duty to help alleviate the untold hardships and sufferings fellow human beings are confronted with.” Catherine Garcia New information is coming out about the events leading up to Islamic State taking over Ramadi, Iraq, on Sunday — including that 30 car bombs were detonated in the city center, 10 of them similar to the Oklahoma City truck bomb. What it’s like to get drunk with someone you thought barely knew of your existence, and what that person can teach you over the last round of vermouth.

Although security forces left, the official said the situation is not like what happened in Mosul, where Iraqi forces abandoned their posts and equipment; the Ramadi forces have “regrouped” and “consolidated” and are planning a counter-offensive. Last week I said that I was skeptical that he would reach his happy ending, because he seemed to be committing Mad Men’s “ultimate sin”: a refusal to change with changing times.

That was the idea and that was what we tried to do.” Unlike his mentor, David Chase, who directed one post-Sopranos film and then went silent, Weiner expressed a willingness to do another show eventually. I have, however, worked in an office my whole adult life, and no series has ever come closer to capturing the exhilarations, and occasional frustrations, of white-collar work, particularly white-collar work in an industry where creativity is the coin of the realm. I was consistently blown away by how Mad Men dramatized the process of coming up with an idea and took the seemingly mundane ups and downs of office life and made it into art. And for most of the finale, he clung resolutely to the past: even when he arrives at the institute in Big Sur with Stephanie, he’s dressed in a slim ’60s-style polo shirt and slacks. I love the marination. … I loved having the period in between the shows.” Weiner prides himself on his memory, and he demonstrated some lingering bitterness towards AMC and Lionsgate over negotiations that almost ended the show prematurely. “I was in so many fights, that I started to think, ‘Is this my problem, or are these people really, really screwing with me all the time?’ Like, I come in on budget the first season, and Lionsgate cuts your budget the next year.

He looks totally old-fashioned even compared to ordinary people from the 1970s, and completely at odds with the hippies surrounding him at the retreat. He just tells Peggy, just move forward — that’s his philosophy in life.” Weiner is still wondering where those awards are. “The actors on Mad Men behave like real people, and it has not been in style. He hits rock bottom and reveals his worst secrets to Peggy, but when he gets to the final, worst sin on his list — that he stole another man’s name and made nothing of it — Peggy tells him with quiet certainty that that’s not true. As we enter the final days of Sterling Cooper & Partners, Slate’s TV Club will celebrate the show’s retorts and rejoinders by highlighting a Mad Men Zinger of the Week for Slate Plus. I just see when I sit through these clips — the big screaming, bulging vein through the forehead, burst into tears, big speechifying, ‘I can barely’ hoarse voice — actors are voting on it!

Julia, Hanna: I am very lucky I can call both of you my colleagues, and luckier still that I got to watch these final episodes in your company and call it “work.” But in watching the scene, the moment Don actually reacts to is when Leonard talks about how desperate he is to feel loved, and his realization that he is loved, he just isn’t able to recognize it. Leonard explains that he fears “no one cares that I’m gone,” and the camera cuts to Don, who feels this so deeply that he physically jerks, as if he has been shocked. And then Leonard goes on, giving voice to a perfect encapsulation of Don’s true problem, the real reason he “only likes the beginning of things,” the real reason he’s always searching for something new that will satisfy his craving: They should love me.

And the show has also made clear that he wants this road trip to be a new moment of reinvention, a way to shed the trappings of the “Don Draper” character that has become such a burden for him. But now, in the end, he is realizing how true that was: Don Draper has people in his life who love him, and have been saying so, but he hasn’t been listening.

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Finding the ‘Joy’ in Jennifer Lawrence

20 Jan 2016 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Joy’ review: Jennifer Lawrence cleans up in enjoyable biopic.

Writer-director David O. Their latest collaboration — following in the footsteps of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle — is a biographical picture about the life and times of Joy Mangano.Jennifer Lawrence groans when she’s asked about singing the classic Nancy and Frank Sinatra duet Something Stupid with co-star Edgar Ramirez in her new film Joy. “David [O Russell, the movie’s director] texted me last night to ask if he could put it on the soundtrack and this is what I texted him back,” the actor says as she digs around for her mobile phone and reads out her response verbatim. “‘David, no!!!’ and it is three exclamation marks.In a very abbreviated nutshell, that actually happened to Joy Mangano, 59, the fabulously successful Long Island entrepreneur/inventor and HSN pitchwoman whose rags-to-riches journey started with the invention of a mop.

Russell has made three kinds of movies: offbeat romances (“Flirting With Disaster”), surreal comedies (“I Heart Huckabees”) and dramas about dysfunctional yet appealing families (“The Fighter”). In real life, Mangano is the Long Island housewife and inventor who became famous and eventually rich after bouts of near-bankruptcy, by creating and marketing her Miracle Mop. Out Boxing Day in Australia, the film stars Jennifer Lawrence in the fictionalised life story of Joy Mangano, a single mum from Long Island who made her fortune selling a mop. On Christmas Day, “Joy,” a movie inspired by her struggles as a divorced, single mother turned mogul by way of that mop, will open at movie theaters across America.

This was before she hooked up with the giant Home Shopping Network, becoming their most effective pitch person and eventually selling her parent company, Ingenious Designs, to HSN. Gross, I can’t listen to it; I have to go to bed.’ And I said yes, but it’s a groaning, reluctant yes.” It’s the kind of unfiltered moment you come to expect when interviewing Lawrence, who may now be one of the most famous actors on the planet but still blurts out whatever she’s thinking with such self-deprecating charm it’s impossible not to be, well, charmed.

Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as Miracle Mop inventor and QVC pitchwoman Joy Mangano glues the movie together, but it threatens to unravel at any time. Lawrence, 25, looks genuinely surprised when complimented about how unchanged she seems from our earlier interviews before the fame and Oscars. “But there would be no reason to change,” she says with a shrug. “I just have a job and I love my job. In the film, Lawrence’s Mangano is a colourful character, a single mom with a unique relationship and friendship with her ex-husband, and an enterprising woman who parlays her creativity into an incredibly successful business.

Mom (Virginia Madsen) stays in her bedroom and watches soap operas, until she falls for a Haitian plumber (Jimmy Jean-Louis) who fixes a hole in her bedroom floor. She landed minor roles on TV shows such as Monk, Cold Case and Medium before her 2010 indie film Winter’s Bone led to her becoming the second youngest best actress Oscar nominee in history. This is true even when the film tilts off its rocker with a bit of Russell-esque madness built into the screenplay, and with the director failing to always keep the energy going. That resulted in not only a string of critically acclaimed films, an Academy Award and another Oscar nomination, but also her very own mega-franchise as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.

Joy’s grandma (endearing Diane Ladd) delivers messages of empowerment and smooths over constant fights, but she’s opposed by the money-grubbing rich woman (Isabella Rossellini) who dates Joy’s dad and sends negative messages about her. Lawrence’s endearing habit of speaking her mind resulted in a controversial essay she penned on Lena Dunham’s website about her discovery during the Sony hacks that she was being paid less “than the lucky people with dicks” on her recent films, including American Hustle. “I completely understand when people say actors shouldn’t talk about politics and things they don’t know about, but this was my gender at stake and it was being threatened with unfairness and I thought, ‘What is the point of having this voice if it’s not to speak out for myself and for everyone else who can’t?’,” she says unapologetically.

Upon learning that Lawrence would be playing her mom, Miranne says, “I braced myself so I wouldn’t fall on the floor.” As for Mangano, she says Lawrence playing her “made me feel old, number one. Lawrence hangs out with a posse of celebrity girlfriends, including Amy Schumer and singer Adele, but the reason is simple. “The friendship gets expedited a lot when you meet someone you know beyond a shadow of a doubt has no agenda,” she says. Draining her savings and taking out loans, she started off small, selling her mops to local boat owners. “She persuaded QVC to take a thousand, but sales were poor and they tried to send them back,” says Mason. “She suggested letting her demonstrate it herself, and the channel agreed.” Sales skyrocketed and Mangano’s career as a QVC pitch woman was launched. That’s so amazing there aren’t even words.” Mangano and her three children didn’t view “Joy” until the Dec. 13 premiere in Manhattan, though a family outing to see “Trainwreck” included a trailer.

This is, after all, the self-confessed reality-show junkie who confessed in a recent Vogue interview that on the night of her 25th birthday party, friends surprised her with a visit from reality queen Kris Jenner, who presented her with a cake inscribed, ‘Happy Birthday, you piece of shit!’ The only time she seems tongue-tied is when asked about her relationship status, after a four-year stint with X-Men: First Class co-star Nicholas Hoult and a year with Coldplay singer Chris Martin before their breakup earlier this year. “Next!” Lawrence says in a no-nonsense voice, pausing as she decides if she’ll continue that thought. For one thing, Mangano’s childhood is not that interesting for a film, despite some flashbacks to her as a youngster (when she is played by 10-year-old Isabella Cramp, who does actually look like we imagine Lawrence could have at the same age). A satire on the acquisitiveness of the public? (Here, QVC foists unnecessary things on gullible viewers who could better save their money.) Russell doesn’t seem to know. And, of course, the grave ending would be a lie: Mangano is very much alive at the age of 59, still inventing, still pitching products, still a superstar of the American home shopping universe. There’s the Clothes It All luggage system, essentially a rolling suitcase with a removable garment bag, and the Super Chic vacuum, which releases fragrance into the air.

If I even casually say something to a reporter, that quote haunts me for the rest of my life,” she says, “so I am never, ever, ever talking about boys again!” I don’t think any of us brought enough tissues!” A good portion of the film was shot last winter in Boston, and though the always-busy Mangano was twice scheduled to visit the set, snowstorms made travel impossible. He has mixed genres successfully before, as in the anti-war comedy-drama “Three Kings,” but the blender often grinds to a halt in “Joy.” Just as we’re getting used to the realism of Mangano’s fight for respect, Russell photographs Rossellini as if she were a gargoyle.

One of her creations, the thin and velvet-covered Huggable Hanger, remains a bestseller for HSN, at more than 300 million sold, and was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. Yet in “Silver Linings Playbook,” Cooper, De Niro and Russell all supported her with fine work; here they lay back and make the movie a one-ring circus where she has to be acrobat, bareback rider and clown.

He had a presence all of his own.” At one point, Miranne says, “Jennifer grabbed Joy’s hand and said to David, ‘Look at the nails, a French manicure.’ ” (That manicure is a Mangano signature.) Lawrence revealed that in studying for her part as Joy, she watched recordings of the inventor’s early pitches on HSN, including ones for “Huggable Hangers” and found her so compelling that she wanted to buy them on the spot. There is something special when creative people get together.” Mangano’s take on Lawrence? “She’s beyond her years, so brilliant, hysterical and so talented.

Critically, Russell’s sense of wonder and beauty turns elegiac moments — especially when Joy Mangano becomes fully realized as a woman and as a business executive — into scenes of great beauty. Lawrence recently said on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” that the movie was “half Joy Mangano’s story and half [Russell’s] imagination and other powerful, strong women who inspired him.” The director mined much of his Mangano material by phone.

The cast includes Edgar Ramirez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Susan Lucci (in a mock TV soap opera that gives Joy some of its silliness) and even Melissa Rivers as her late mother Joan Rivers. There’s no situation Joy cannot overcome or circumvent.” At a Newsday photo shoot at Mangano’s luxurious but serene 42,000-square-foot mansion on 11 acres in St. As for parting advice for the ambitious? “If this movie inspires even just one more person to believe in themselves and to go after their dreams, then it’s made a very special impact in this world.

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