Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More on Mad Women, S1, E1

I found a copy of the Mad Men pilot script online (!!!) and found how the women were described in the notes. I find this interesting as a way of seeing what the scriptwriter had in mind and then how the casting turned out. My personal notes are below in intalics.

"The door opens to reveal Midge Daniels, a sexy no-nonsense woman around Don's age (according to this script to be early 30's) wrapped in a red kimono." Then, "She turns and Don follows her shapely form into the apartment."
  • I like how they didn't go with the kimono (which in the script she was wearing with nothing underneath) and instead had her look like she was really working late, ink smudges on the sleeves and all. What I mean is: not waiting up for a man.

"Walking down a wide corridor with open offices on either side is Joan, mid-twenties, an incredibly put together office manager. A half step behind, carrying a cardboard box with supplies is Peggy Olson, who at 20 seems far younger."

  • Hmm, not really much to go on there.

"Dr. Guttman, fifty-ish German national who embodies the somber world of research right down to her bun hairstyle and clipboard".

  • I think they decided not to be so cartoonish, so no bun or clipboard. A two-line exchange that had Don alluding to her possibly being a lesbian was also removed from the final script.

"...Roger waits with a few people, including Rachel Mencken (sp), early twenties and stunning in a Chanel suit." And later at the bar, "She is stunning, her diamond earrings sparkling in the darkness". And then even later "Don looks at her. She is luminous."

  • I knew I was right about the Chanel, but I'm not sure about the 'early twenties'. A lot of the women on this show I can't get a good idea of what age they are playing. Having her in her early twenties would make her younger than Betty (see below) and I just don't see that.

"Suddenly, we are close on a woman's hand as it turns the switch on the end table lamp. We pull back and reveal Betty, 29, and beautiful despite having just awakened."

  • So the image of Betty being "too perfect" was right there in the script from the get-go. Placing her age at 29 (if they left it at that) lets her have a few years after college and marriage before she had Sally, who turned six in the third episode.

Thanks, Lee Thomson!

ALSO, really cool Mad Men fan site at Basket of Kisses!


Roberta Lipp said...

lsaspacey, thanks for the love! And for a really interesting post.

And Rachel is 28; I don't remember from which episode I extracted that.

If you listen to Weiner talk about the casting process... he is not a stickler for what was in the script. Maybe he wanted 22, but he probably wanted Maggie Siff more. I can't imagine a better Rachel.

lsaspacey said...

THANK YOU! I LOVE your site. Your posts are so insightful, your recent Clay/Salvatore one included. I can't believe how much I love this show though I've only actually seen three episodes (though 3x each (!) for future clothing posts!)

I'm glad Weiner casts for the actors' abilities instead of just looks; everyone is excellent.

Forever Chic said...

Thanks in part to posts like this, I downloaded the first few episodes of the show and got totally hooked. I've now watched it through the entire first season. The clothes, plotlines and acting are all awesome. I LOVE THIS SHOW!! Keep up the posts related to the clothes.