Bryan Batt Press - Access Hollywood
Access Hollywood

Q&A: Bryan Batt Talks 'Mad Men's' Return

Published: July 23, 2009

Bryan Batt
Bryan Batt arrives at the premiere of Sony Pictures' class "Whatever Works"


In under a month, late summer’s most stylish drama, “Mad Men,” returns to television screens on AMC for its third season.

The show, centered around the brilliant-but-troubled Don Draper, played by Jon Hamm, and his co-workers — vice-loving advertising workers in the 1960s — has won a host of acclaim since it premiered in July 2007. And last week, the cast found out that their second season, which was just released on DVD, netted 16 Emmy nominations, the most of any drama on television and second only in nods to NBC’s “30 Rock.”

But while the “Mad Men” stars were celebrating in Los Angeles, Bryan Batt, who plays closeted Sterling Cooper Art Director Salvatore Romano, was struggling to find out all the Emmy details. Having finished shooting for the week, the star flew to his New Orleans home, where he runs a furnishings and design shop — Hazelnut – only to have his power interrupted by a seasonal weather occurrence.

Access Hollywood: How did you find out about the ‘Mad Men’ Emmy nominations?

Bryan Batt: I was trying to find out online and I couldn’t… There was kind of a big storm here… so all of our power in this area went out. I had to drive to my mother’s house where the storm had not hit — it still had power — to use her computer, which she never uses. I don’t even think she knows how to use it. I think it’s powered by coal. So I sent an e-mail to all the cast and crew and everybody congratulating them.

Access: How long have you been back at work on the ‘Mad Men’ set?

Bryan: We started back in May, so we are in the middle of episode 8… It is moving along perfectly. It’s just another great, great exciting season and I just cant wait for the premiere. I think people are going to really, really love it.

Access: Last season on the show, European Kurt came out rather publicly. It seems like your character, Sal, has some options now…

Bryan: Well, you know, perceived options. I mean in the second season you find out [Sal] is married, so that’s pretty limiting. So Season 3 is more — it’s so typical of how our show works. What everyone expects to happen doesn’t and what does happen is so exciting and different and I think that’s why the viewers are glued to the TV. It takes you on such an interesting journey that you really don’t know where it’s going. And believe it, we deal [with it] the same way… because we don’t get the scripts until right before the table read.

Access: Filming in late spring and summer in three-piece heavy suits… Is it more uncomfortable for the men or the women?

Bryan: Actually it’s hotter for the women. The women have to wear the period foundation, they have to wear the corsets and the girdles and those torpedo bras. Then, on top of that, wear the costumes. The only problem is when we have to shoot on location when it gets really hot outside… It’s freezing cold in the studio… I’m glad to suffer because I think those costumes are so magnificent, and I am so happy about Janie [Bryant, the show’s costume designer] getting nominated for the Emmy.

Access: Have you adopted any of the things that Sal has style-wise, into your own life?

Bryan: I think this whole period in time, especially in design, is kind of iconic and I have started to wear tie bars once in a while. I have some of my dad’s tie bars… And fashion right now, skinnier ties have come back in. I am not so much of a trendy kind of person, but that trend I do like. And I think I have adapted a little more [toward] dressing up for occasions, looking a little nicer… having a manicure and a pedicure more often.

Access: So what are we going to see from Sal this season that you can reveal?

Bryan: All I can really say is that I have some good scenes with Jon in the opening episode, and it was fun to get to work with Jon again. Matt [Weiner, ‘Mad Men’s’ creator,] said when he started to write that he went back to the pilot and said that, ‘You and Jon have this really good rapport,’ and I think that inspired [the new scene]. I can’t really say much of what happens, all I can really say is the first episode is quite wonderful.

Access: Playing a closeted character on TV, are there older gentlemen that come up to you and say your storyline reminds them of their life in the ‘60s?

Bryan: Oh yeah, many people have come up… In fact, one person told me the other day that I’m actually – literally — playing her father. So I was like, ‘That’s interesting.’ Matt Weiner said to me…last year everybody was coming up saying ‘Don Draper was my dad.’ Now they have started saying ‘Salvatore was my dad!’

Season 3 of “Mad Men” premieres August 16 at 10 PM on AMC. Season 2 of the show is out now on DVD.