Jon Hamm On Ditching Don Draper To Be Baby Driver’s Big Bad

Hamm told loaded why Edgar Wright’s jukebox musical rocks harder than most.

The Baby Driver gang
The Baby Driver gang Jon Hamm's darkest role yet?

Jon Hamm has fond memories of loaded, or at least that’s what you’d hope. The mere mention of the magazine has the Mad Men star getting nostalgic – and apologetic.

“Ah loaded,” he says. “I used to read loaded in the 90s, no offence.”

It’s difficult to take offence at Hamm. He’s polite, well groomed and gives proper answers to questions in interviews, which is always a bonus.

He’s also starring in the coolest movie of the year, Baby Driver, as part of a bank-robbing trio alongside both Jamie Foxx and Eiza Gonzalez. A love of loaded isn’t the only thing Hamm has left in his past either.

Playing the part of Buddy who, alongside Eiza Gonzalez’s Darling, is one half of a 21st century Bonnie and Clyde, the role is a massive departure from Don Draper. But that’s kind of the point.

“I look for things in my post ‘Mad Men’ career [that are] the opposite or at least something different from Don, who was very clean cut, well buttoned up, even though he certainly had a dark side. But this opportunity was definitely an example of the change I was looking for,” he says.

Edgar Wright saw something of Hamm in Buddy too – it’s the only part that was written with a specific actor in mind and, as soon as he saw the script, Hamm was sold.

“I’ve known Edgar and have been a fan of his for quite some time,” explains Hamm. “I was asked by Edgar to do the original table read for the early version of the script and was on board immediately and that was about five or six years prior to filming. I really liked the script right away and knew it was an interesting idea that could become something really cool.”

Hamm was still nervous going into filming though telling loaded, he was desperate to simply “the guy who doesn’t mess it up”.

Ansel Elsort and Jon Hamm.
Ansel Elsort and Jon Hamm Baby and Buddy

“Edgar wanted this very specific tone and vision to come through and the challenge I had was to not mess it up and be too much in the way with what I wanted to bring to it.” What Hamm brought to it, alongside Foxx and Gonzalez, was something approaching anti-chemistry with Buddy and Darling often at odds with Foxx’s homicidal loose cannon loner, Bats.

Brought together by Kevin Spacey’s criminal kingpin Doc, with Ansel Elgort’s Baby behind the wheel, the gang’s dynamic is among the film’s most engaging aspects.

Hamm, ever modest, however, puts it down to Wright. “It’s all in the writing,” he tells loaded. “Edgar wrote these characters to not like each other or in the case of Eiza and myself, to really like each other. It’s right there on the page.”

Even so, Hamm appears to know the character of Buddy and, by extension Darling, like the back of his hand. “Buddy’s back story is that he was a very successful stock broker who then made a series of bad decisions which landed him on the other side of the law. He now uses his intelligence and charm to find success on the flipside of legal money-making.”

“Buddy meets his girlfriend, Darling and they are living that thrilling kind of romantic, although inevitably doomed, life of crime with all of the excitement that.”

Buddy and Darling’s romance may be doomed, but Hamm is hoping the cinema-going public falls in love with Baby Driver.

Despite his status as a critical darling, Wright has had plenty of misses at the box office. Scott Pilgrim vs The World, for example, was criminally underappreciated on the big screen. He’s up against some big hitters in the form of Transformers, Despicable Me 3 and the usual franchises.

Asked why film fans should pick Baby Driver over the usual fare and Hamm is pretty unequivocal. He’s also totally right correct.

Baby Driver is its own thing – it doesn’t have a prequel or a sequel or a reboot. It’s one of the only things coming out in the summertime that’s new and unique and hasn’t been seen in some form before. That’s pretty high praise right there. It came together really well and we’re all really proud of it.”

Baby Driver is out now and you should definitely go and see it.

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