News & Opinion | April 5, 2018 10:30 am

Can We Look at Jon Hamm and Stop Seeing Don Draper?

New Esquire interview examines Hamm's latest work and how his famous character shadows him.

Heinz Finally Green-Lights Don Draper's Ad Slogan 50 Years Later
Jon Hamm as Don Draper in 'To Have and To Hold,' from Season 6, ep. 604, which originally aired April 21, 2013 (Michael Yarish/© AMC/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Actor Jon Hamm was chosen for the leading role in AMC’s Mad Men precisely because he was an unknown at the time. But has he been able to transcend his role as advertising man Don Draper in the years since the acclaimed drama made him a household name? Esquire claims he soon will—maybe not just yet—but he’s on his way to emerging from that big shadow.

“After Mad Men poured its last martini in 2015, critics asked repeatedly: Would Hamm be able to transcend the character who made him famous and enjoy a successful second act? The question was rooted less in his acting ability than in the lazy assumption that audiences would look at him and see only Draper,” Maximillian Potter writes. “The rebuttal is Hamm’s work. In the three years since Mad Men ended, he’s done everything but play into expectation.”