It’s an understatement to say Jared Harris’ character Lane had one tough year on Mad Men. (Spoiler Alert for those who haven’t seen the fifth season!) Lane’s season-long struggle culminated in his devastating final episode that saddened both the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce crew, and fans who’ll have to adjust to a Pryce-less show when Mad Men returns.
A bright spot: Harris’ incredible work was noticed when, in addition to several other award nominations for Mad Men, the actor received an Emmy nod for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama. Harris got on the phone with EW from Wales to talk about Lane, his castmates’ work, and saying goodbye.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congratulations!
JARED HARRIS: I’m very excited! What a thrill; what a surprise.
How did you find out this morning?
I’m actually in Wales, visiting a friend of my Dad’s down here in Wales and I was actually cooking him lunch and a phone call came through and my girlfriend answered the phone, and she jumped up and down shrieking with joy, and then I got on the phone and I promptly forgot about the food I was cooking.
What does this nomination mean to you?
It’s a thrill. It’s a thrill for something like that to happen. I think at some point every actor has practiced their acceptance speech while they’re having a shower. It’s fun. I know that Matt [Weiner] and the people on the show decided to make the most out of Lane’s exit. And this all happened because he made that decision. And I’m lucky. I’m very fortunate to be the recipient of that.
I imagine it’s kind of bittersweet, to have this recognition but also know it’s over for Lane.
Yeah, it is. It takes a little bit out of the sting of being let go. But only a little bit, I do have to say. It’s an incredible place to work. It’s one of those Catch-22 things, the fact that [Weiner] decided to let Lane go meant that I got two seasons worth of storylines this year. But on the other hand, it really has been the best place to go and work, and I won’t be working there anymore. I’m going to miss them all.
Many of your castmates were nominated as well.
They’re incredibly good! They’re amazingly good at what they do and good fun and very professional. I’m not surprised. I think Vincent Kartheiser does an amazing job, his character is less sympathetic so it’s harder to get nominated. His work is amazing. I think John Slattery’s work—he’s incredibly funny, and people don’t take comedy seriously. They think it’s easier to do, and it’s not. It’s much, much harder. And he does an amazing job with what he does. There are a lot of really, really good performances — Rich Sommer, Aaron Staton. And behind the scenes as well, the makeup and art department — it’s all top notch. And at the top of that is Matt Weiner on quality control. He has a very high standard for himself, and he sets the same bar for everybody else.
What are you looking forward to about the Emmys?
I’ve done [the Emmy thing] once before. I remember it being very long and it took a long time to get a drink! I’m looking forward to seeing everyone from the show. Getting together with them, it’s my last chance to see them all.
How will you celebrate today?
I’ve started already! I’ve started. As soon as that phone call came through we cracked open a bottle of wine and started to get drunk.