The GQ+A: Jon Hamm on Unhappy Drunks, Loud Children, and Friends with Kids

The GQ+A: Jon Hamm on Unhappy Drunks, Loud Children, and Friends with Kids

Jon Hamm usually plays extraordinary creatures—from Mad Men's Don Draper to SNL's Sergio the Sax Man—but in Friend with Kids, he's a pretty a regular dude of unfortunate circumstance: unhappily married with kids. The film, out on DVD today, explores the alternate parenting method of, you know, knocking up your best friend and raising the child with zero romantic attachment. So we called up the Sax Man himself for some real talk about having babies with your bestie, acting as a convincing drunk, and schooling loud prepubescent boys.

GQ: The big question in Friends with Kids is, "Can you have a baby with your best friend without being romantically involved?" Your girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt told us it's not a bad idea, but then again, she wrote the film. What do you think? 
Jon Hamm: Oh yeah, I don't think it's necessarily a terrible idea. We try to embrace this in the film. There are numerous examples of alternate parenting methods in our lives—there's a lot of different ways to go about that process. The larger concern is that this is a child's life—[the child] really has no say in the matter—so you're making a very serious decision that has a lot of implications, and that's what our two main characters wrestle with throughout the film.

GQ: The character you play becomes a father, his marriage unravels, and he resorts to drinking. What's the difference between playing an unhappy drunk in a romantic comedy and an unhappy drunk in a drama like Mad Men? 
Jon Hamm: I'm the worst person in the world to talk about acting, because I find myself completely bored to tears about it, but I do think most great acting is deeply involved with great writing. Jen is a great writer, and has created some pretty great scenes for these characters to bounce around with each other. I don't think there's necessarily any real difference in playing a drunk in a comedy or a drunk in a drama, just trying to be truthful to the story.

GQ: There's a video of you giving advice to young girls, but what's the most important piece of wisdom you'd share with a son? 
Jon Hamm: I don't know, honestly. Boys are obviously very different than girls. I used to be a teacher, and herding eighth grade children around a classroom is tricky enough, but boys are particularly tricky. So mostly my advice is just to stop talking and be nicer, because they can be both loud and super, super annoying. I don't know...I'm from the Midwest—being polite goes a long way with me.

GQ: Right, that's some advice that could also apply to grown-ups. 
Jon Hamm: Well, "stop talking" could apply to everybody.

GQ: Anything else I should know about Friends with Kids? 
Jon Hamm: I'm really glad that people are seeing the movie—we're all really proud of it—and I think it resonates for a lot of people. The funny thing about making a movie called Friends with Kidsis that your friends with kids really can't go see it because they never get out of the house. Hopefully the DVD will give them a chance to check it out.