Tonight's Law & Order (10 pm/ET, NBC) offers the luminous January Jones a chance to explore her dark side as she portrays amoral beauty Kim Brody, whom Lupo and Green link to all sorts of nefarious deeds, including a real estate scam and a deadly hit-and-run accident. Kim's shenanigans would no doubt shock Betty Draper, the repressed '60s housewife Jones brought to life on Mad Men. The actress spoke with us about her hit AMC series, her eerie resemblance to Grace Kelly and her unique first name.
TV Guide: What attracted you to Law & Order?
January Jones: The script. I'd never seen an episode before I shot the show! I don't know if I could describe the character. I relate her to the Ed Norton character in Primal Fear. She's an actress, playing the victim, playing seductress… very smart and calculated without a conscience. It was really fun.
TV Guide: Betty she ain't.
Jones: Polar opposite. Betty is a subdued, unhappy housewife who is in denial, and Kim is nothing like that. That's what attracted me to the role.
TV Guide: Did Mad Men's success surprise you?
Jones: I'm not surprised by people's reaction to it. When I first read the pilot, it was very apparent that it was so smart and so different from anything else. It was an opportunity to delve into a character and really find out who this person is. It's a time period that hasn't been talked about for a while. The way it looks, the way it feels, I'm really proud of it. It's my first series and I really struck gold.
TV Guide: In both Mad Men and We Are Marshall, you have this natural look that transcends the time period your character is in.
Jones: I attribute that to hair and makeup. It's not overdone. My hair and makeup people will look at pictures of Grace Kelly to get inspiration.... I just want to feel like I'm not wearing a costume and my hair isn't overly coiffed. I feel normal.
TV Guide: You do look like Grace Kelly! One of the episodes even referenced that....
Jones: I don't go around looking perfect all the time. It's very flattering, and I think the hair and makeup people deserve [credit] more than I do! It's pretty cool.
TV Guide: What do you think of that Kennedy-era period?
Jones: I know on the show it might come off shocking the way women are treated. I probably take for granted the time period I live in now. But the chauvinism, the sexual misconduct, it still goes on. I do think women had to fight a lot harder [then].
TV Guide: Assuming the strike gets settled, what can you tell us about Season 2 of Mad Men?
Jones: I think it's supposed be 1962, two years later. I don't really know anything. I've only been told to read Ariel by Sylvia Plath and to take horseback riding lessons! Matt [Matthew Weiner, Mad Men's creator] likes to keep it a secret, which is really fun for the actors.
TV Guide: There has to be a story behind your name.
Jones: Yes, there is. It's from a book called Once Is Not Enough, by Jacqueline Susann. My parents had the name picked out before I was conceived but I happened to be born in January as well! It's a bit of a cruel joke, but I like my name.
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