Smoke, drink and be merry. That's the motto ad executive Roger Sterling lives by, even after suffering two heart attacks last season on AMC's critical darling Mad Men (Sundays at 10 pm/ET, AMC). We asked for some insight into the character from John Slattery, the Emmy-nominated actor who plays him.
TV Guide: How lucky do you feel to be on this show?
John Slattery: It's the best job I've ever had! Every time I read a script, [Roger] always has something to say that I can't wait to do.
TV Guide: Are the glowing reviews at all surprising to you?
Slattery: Sometimes you're surprised that other people like what you like — and the fact that everybody seems to think it's even better this season.
TV Guide: What's the secret of Mad Men's success?
Slattery: I don't think it's a secret — I think it's [creator] Matt Weiner.
TV Guide: What do you like most about Roger Sterling?
Slattery: He sees the humor in a lot of what goes on, which is pretty dark.
TV Guide: And least?
Slattery: There's not one thing about him I don't like.
TV Guide: Could you be friends with Roger in real life?
Slattery: He chooses his friends pretty specifically; I don't know that I'd make the cut.
TV Guide: Can you let us know what's in store for him this season?
Slattery: I can't. You know Matt — we're all sworn to secrecy and afraid for our lives.
TV Guide: Would Roger dare to make another pass at Betty?
Slattery: Roger and Don have been through a lot. Roger gets Don and sees sides of him that Don doesn't let other people see. They've become closer, [so] no. He wouldn't make the same mistake twice.
TV Guide: After last season's health scares, it didn't take long for Roger to go back to his overindulging ways…
Slattery: I don't think [Roger] is interested in changing. He's not an out and out hedonist [but] he definitely sees that [life] isn't going to go on forever and you might as well live it to your fullest while you're here.
TV Guide: What's it like working with your real-life wife, Talia Balsam, who plays Mona, your spouse on the show?
Slattery: Working with somebody you know so well is great. You don't have to pretend that you've been together forever; a lot of that context is already there.
TV Guide: Do you have a favorite Roger scene?
Slattery: There's so many of them! The episode ["Red in the Face"] with Don, sitting in a bar, laughing, drinking, smoking, eating oysters, telling funny stories — that was a pure pleasure. I like those scenes between Don and Roger.
TV Guide: What's your personal cocktail of choice?
Slattery: A vodka martini.
TV Guide: You play an adman on Mad Men, is there a piece of actual advertising that your particularly fond of?
Slattery: A Johnson's baby powder campaign: The girl asks, "Why did I cut my hair, I look like a squirrel…Who am I?" It was really funny.
If you could take one thing home from the Mad Men set, what would it be?
Slattery: That mid-century furniture is a lot of what I have in my home. There's a George Nelson table in my [onscreen] office that I keep taking those yellow stickies and putting "property of John Slattery" on.
TV Guide: Are you looking forward to the Emmys?
Slattery: I don't even know what to expect. The red carpet makes me nervous.