Christina Hendricks by Frank Ockenfels/AMC Christina Hendricks by Frank Ockenfels/AMC
Christina Hendricks brings devilish fun to the office of

Mad Men (Sundays at 10 pm/ET, AMC) as sexy office manager Joan. But Joan's no dummy: Sunday's episode will reveal a new dimension to the complicated, calculating vixen. We caught up with Hendricks to chat about this week's juicy storyline, how she transforms herself into Joan and why she has blisters on her thighs. -

Adam Bryant TVGuide.com: Sixteen Emmy nominations. Doubled ratings for the Season 2 premiere. Life in Mad Men land is pretty good, huh?
Christina Hendricks:
It's amazing. I guess AMC pumped up their advertising this year, and between word of mouth and critics being so kind to us, I think it really caught on. We were sitting around the night before [the Emmy nominations were announced] all wondering what would happen, but I think everyone is just thrilled that we're working so hard and people are noticing. TVGuide.com: Are your surprised that a show this nuanced is getting such fan reaction?
Hendricks:
I think a lot of people are looking for shows like that - I know have been - and the shows that I felt were like that are gone. It's not fluff TV that you can talk in the middle of and walk around the room. You have to really sit down, and for some people that might be too much. But from what I hear, it's refreshing for most people, and they're happy to have found it. TVGuide.com: It's definitely a serious show, but Joan has plenty of fun.
Hendricks:
She does bring levity to the office, and she has a sense of humor and doesn't take things too seriously, which is really fun to play. But she is also hiding and protective of a lot of things in her own life, and her way to deal to with it is to clean up the others' messes. That's what's great about these characters - they're so well-written and there are so many levels to them that not one character represents something. Each character is rich and well-rounded. It's my dream job. TVGuide.com: You appear much younger in person. How do you make Joan appear so mature?
Hendricks:
I've received a lot of comments like that. Every time people meet me, they go, "Oh my gosh, you're a baby!" [ Laughs] I never really thought about it when I first started the series, but I think it's a combination of things. I think it's the wardrobe, and I definitely think it's the hair and makeup. Those styles are what we're used to seeing our parents and grandparents in. So, without even really thinking about it, that triggers your mind to think older. Plus Joan also carries herself with a lot more confidence than I think most of us feel. TVGuide.com: Speaking of how Joan carries herself, she's always placing her hands a certain way. Do you consciously bring that extra physicality to the role?
Hendricks:
It just kind of happens. It's funny - I put on those clothes and foundation pieces and all of a sudden, that's what happens with my hands. I was doing something like that on set the other day, and I walked off and said, "Why did I just do that?" It's so funny, but when I'm Joan it immediately happens. I don't walk around in real life like that. [ Laughs] TVGuide.com: The ladies around the office want to know if your era-appropriate wardrobe extends to the undergarments.
Hendricks:
Our costume designer Janie Bryant is so amazing at what she does, and she's so passionate about it she doesn't cut any corners. Everything we wear is authentic - we wear long-line bras and we wear girdles and stockings and slips. We have all sorts of gear going on under there. In fact, I have blisters on my thighs today from my garters. We had a very long day yesterday, and I was in my costume for 17 hours. So I'm paying the price for it today. So, it's not always comfortable to say the least. TVGuide.com: So in this week's episode, you and Paul Kinsey have heated words about a particular aspect of his new lifestyle.
Hendricks:
I haven't seen the finished scene, so I don't know how it comes across, but I was a bit terrified. [ Laughs] I thought if they were done wrong, Joan is going to look like a monster. I talked with [creator] Matt Weiner about it and realized it was really about Joan calling Paul on his s--t. He's walking around and playing the fool, and Joan is one of the few people who is brutally honest and she says something to him. TVGuide.com: Obviously the show hasn't been afraid to show the sexism and racism of the era. Did you have any reservations about Joan's viewpoint on race?
Hendricks:
I started crying when I first read it because I wasn't sure how to take it. But again, Matt explained it to me, and we really talked about it. He told me it has nothing to do with racism and that Joan is not a racist. Joan is looking at Paul and saying, "You're using this girl, and you're acting like an idiot. Everyone can see it, and it's so obvious what you're doing." It has nothing to do with that girl or the fact that she's black. It has to do with him putting on airs and using her, which can be cruel. Joan's just calling it like it is, and that kind of behavior in the '60s was acceptable. It wasn't bizarre at all to say something like that. TVGuide.com: So what's in store for Joan and her new doctor friend?
Hendricks:
[ Pauses] Well, I'd have my job taken away from you if I tell you too much. [ Laughs] I'm trying to think of how I can say something without saying something. I think I have to take the fifth on this. I don't need any phone calls from the boss. TVGuide.com: Might Joan have marriage on the mind?
Hendricks:
I think it's insinuated in the Episode 1 conversation between Joan and Roger, and in Season 1, Joan certainly references it several times. She is trying to figure out if that's the lifestyle she wants. TVGuide.com: Speaking of Roger, is he maybe the first real love Joan's known?
Hendricks:
Their relationship is very interesting. They both knew exactly what it was, and yet I think that relationship went on for quite some time and that there was mutual respect, given the circumstances. They became quite close. The scenes between them show how comfortable they are with one another, and they have a sense of humor and tease each other along with the physical relationship. And I think with any woman who has that comfort level and physicality with a man, you can't help but fall in love. And when he gets sick, you definitely see that she feels helpless and scared and wants to love him, but she isn't allowed to. TVGuide.com: Is there any chance of Joan "experimenting" with her roommate who made a come-on in Season 1?
Hendricks:
[ Laughs] Um, gosh. [ Pauses] All these tricky questions.... TVGuide.com: Perhaps your long pauses are telling enough.
Hendricks:
How do I say something without saying something? It's all strict over here! TVGuide.com: You said this is your dream job. What makes it so?
Hendricks:
I never feel like for one minute that I can slack. The material is so great, you feel like you're doing what you meant to be doing when you decided to become an actor. There is never a scene where I think, "Oh, I can fly through this and won't get to sink my teeth into it." I feel really fulfilled. TVGuide.com: Even with all of those blisters?
Hendricks:
[ Laughs] Yeah, I think so.