Christina Hendricks of Mad Men doesn't hate Vincent Kartheiser
This week's cover story, "The Madness in Vincent Kartheiser," examines the Minneapolis actor made good who plays Pete Campbell on the hit AMC drama Mad Men.
In the 11th episode of the show's fifth season, "The Other Woman," we find the problematically ambitious Pete trying to pimp out his longtime colleague Joan Harris to an executive for a Jaguar. The episode is at times hard to watch, and, for some, prompted the question: Is Pete Campbell the most hate-able character on TV (Houston Press puts him right up there with Eric Cartman)?
But off camera, Kartheiser and Christina Hendricks, the actress who plays Joan, are actually good friends. In fact, Kartheiser introduced Hendricks to her husband, Geoffrey Arend, at a magic show. We asked Hendricks about all of this for our profile on Kartheiser. Here's what she told us (via email):
City Pages: I've read he introduced you to your husband. What's the story there?
Christina Hendricks: Vincent and I became friends at the beginning of Mad Men, and early on he invited me and Michael Gladis, along with his friend Geoffrey, to go see his friend perform magic at the Magic Castle. He wasn't trying to set me up with Geoffrey, we just happened to be invited to the same place the same night. I thought Geoffrey was charming and we continued to find reasons to get together. Thanks Vinnie!
CP: People really love to hate Pete Campbell. What is it about the character that evokes this reaction from viewers?
CH: There's something about the character of Pete that makes you uncomfortable because the character is uncomfortable. He's always trying so hard to get approval and that makes you want to not approve of him. Vincent does such a wonderful job of making you squirm and making you feel sorry for him and also making you realize how valuable he is.
CP: Do you ever find yourself hating him (I mean, he did pimp your character out for a Jaguar account)?
CH: I've never found myself hating Pete. I love watching him so much, how could i?
CP: Vincent's character has changed a lot during the course of the show. Have you noticed any dramatic changes in Vincent since you met him?
CH: Vincent is sort of dramatic as it is, but I haven't noticed much change in him. Vinnie is Vinnie, through and through.
CP: On Inside The Actors Studio, Vince said he goes through "strange phases." What's the strangest phase you've witnessed?
CH: Well, I don't know how strange the phases are, but since I've known him he's been a vegetarian and then not a vegetarian. He didn't have a car for over a year, and wanted to take the bus and be more eco conscious and now he has a car. I think he's very conscious of trying to contribute in his own way and he's experimenting with how best to do that.
CP: In what ways -- if any -- do you think Vincent Kartheiser and Pete Campbell are similar?
CH: I think Pete and Vincent are incredibly different. Vincent is a wonderful actor. He is acting so well that the public thinks that he is Pete and it's simply not true.
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