'Mad Men' Actress Writes and Stars in Romantic Comedy
Actress Abigail Spencer, best known for her work on Mad Men, has stealthily spread her wings into screenwriting, with her scriptWrong Number now set for a spring shoot with James Franco as a producer.
Spencer will also star in the movie, leading a cast that includes Andrew Leeds, Matt Gould, Griffin Matthews, Camille Chen and Eric Roberts.
The movie is the first to come from a partnership between Victorino NovalProductions, Edward Bass Films and Franco and his Rabbit Bandini Productions. A slate of six films is planned.
Franco is producing with his Bandini partners Vince Jolivette and Miles Levy, along with Bass. Noval is exec producing and financing. Spencer will also act as a producer.
“We are in the James Franco business,” says Noval, who plans to work with Franco on many of his creative endeavors involving his NYU work.
Number is a comedic romance about two people who “meet” on a wrong number phone call at a pivotal moment in their lives. The story centers on a wife dealing with the loss of her father and the stranger she pursues. They strike up an unlikely friendship, which turns romantic, revealing the gray areas and often mixed signals in intimate friendships amongst men and women.
AnnaRose King is directing the film, which is eying an April start in New York.
Spencer, who played Don Draper’s mistress on Mad Men, and she has been working on the Numberscript for three years. She met Franco while shooting Oz: The Great and Powerful and told him about the personal story.
“I’ve been making some of these smaller movies with people from NYU and other students and I thought I could be helpful,” Franco tells THR. “It’s a romantic comedy in a way, and I didn’t think I would be that into a romantic comedy, but I think structurally it’s unlike anything I’ve seen.”
Number isn’t Spencer’s first time writing although it is her first feature. She previously co-wrote/created with Lauren Miller a pilot script called Teach that is in development with Alloy Entertainment and that sold last year to Warner Horizon and ABC Family.
Spencer, repped by ICM, Untitled Entertainment and Hansen Jacobson, will next be seen in This Means War with Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine, and she has Of Men and Mavericks, theCurtis Hanson-directed surfing movie starring Gerard Butler, in the can.
Have you heard of the site Art of the Title? If not it's a website all about the creation of opening sequences to movies and TV shows and they have a piece on the Mad Men openings. It's really interesting and talks with the designers of the credits and goes through the entire process from conception to the finished product. I highly recommend it.
I haven’t but I’m posting this for everyone to see so you can check it out!
Have you seen Swedish Auto? It's an interesting little film that January Jones gives a lovely performance in as a character that is absolutely nothing like Betty. You might suggest this to the haters who suggest that she has no talent or is one-note.
I haven’t! But it looks fantastic. I’ve been looking for it online for ages.
Can’t wait for “Mad Men" to finally return? Neither can I — it has been 459 days since we last saw Don Draper and the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce gang in "Tomorrowland," and so many questions linger going into Season 5’s big two-hour premiere (Sunday, March 25, if you don’t already have it circled on your calendar).
The “Mad Men” cast did, however, have some things to say about the new season. “I think this season is the best yet. I really do,” Slattery said. “We were all commenting that it felt like the first season. We’ve somehow circled back after all the details and all the plot development that’s happened with everybody … it’s kind of circled back to the sort of tunnel vision on each character and various elements of each character that they’ve dialed in on. It’s somehow simpler.”
Do his castmates agree? “This season I think is our best season, script-wise. 100 percent,” said Rich Sommer, who plays Harry Crane. “I really can’t imagine how anyone would be disappointed, and I think that it definitely rewards those people who have been there from the beginning. It’s not a show you can start from the middle … well, you can, but you’ll not only miss information, you’ll miss nuance. There are literally glances that happen between two characters where it’s like, ‘Oh shit!’”
"A lot happens this season!," Hendricks agreed. "A lot of last season, we were wondering what was happening with Don Draper, what was happening with his marriage. But every character experiences so much this year. It’s very exciting."
"I heard something that Matt [Weiner] said tonight," Moss said, "which is that this season is about every man for himself. I just thought that was so interesting … I’d never heard him say it before, but I think that is the most perfect way of describing this season. And I think that’s the parallel to Season 1 as well."
Speaking of Season 1 -- and all the previous seasons -- the castmates had to answer an even tougher question: What's your favorite "Mad Men" episode ever?
"My favorite episode is still the pilot [‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’]. It was just such an amazing experience, and the first step in this incredible journey. But I’ve never ever worked on something and felt the way I felt after we shot the episode in Season 4 called ‘The Suitcase’ [Episode 7]. That one … I can’t even put it into words, but that one over there [pointing to Elisabeth Moss] is so talented and it was such a lovely performance. It was really just great to be able to say those words next to that person." Jon Hamm
"That is impossible. Well, no it’s not. Not for me. ‘The Suitcase’ — Season 4, Episode 7 — is a hard one to beat. It’s the greatest material I’ve ever had the privilege of acting. How do you top that?" Elisabeth Moss
"Christina Hendricks and I had a lot to do in the episode ‘Babylon’ [Season 1, Episode 6] — that was great. I think they get better and better. There was an episode last year where we lose the Lucky Strike account [‘Chinese Wall,’ Season 4, Episode 11] and I had a lot of challenging stuff to do." John Slattery
"You know, I always go back to Season 1, and I think it must be because it was all so new and fresh. There are so many wonderful episodes, but one of my favorite Joan episodes would be ‘Babylon’ in Season 1, which has a lot of the relationship with Roger and he gives her the birdcage. And I really like the image of the girls putting on the lipstick and the guys on the opposite side … I remember getting that script and saying, ‘Oh, I can’t wait to do this!’ and I still feel that energy when I see that episode." Christina Hendricks
"I really loved the episode in Season 1 [Episode 9, ‘Shoot’] where Betty tries to become a model again, and then gets shut down and shoots the birds. I also really love the episode from Season 3 [Episode 11, ‘The Gypsy and the Hobo’] when she confronts Don about the box." January Jones
"There are some really good ones this season, but this season excluded, obviously the one with Jon [Hamm] where they go out on the town [‘The Good News,’ Season 4, Episode 3]. For me, it meant that people would start to see the character as less functionary, and you’d start to get an idea of who he is and what makes him tick. They humanized him. As a writer, Matt [Weiner] never goes backwards … it’s all an evolution based on the characters." Jared Harris
"One of my favorite episodes is [in Season 2] when I didn’t have shoes on and I’d walk around the office in argyle socks. And I would ask the director or the producer or the writer, ‘Why am I doing this?’ and he would say, ‘I can’t tell you. I don’t tell you what’s going to happen in the next episode. You just walk around — there’s a reason.’ [Laughs] Finally, after two or three more episodes, I found out that my office was decorated in early Japanese style, and I was an aficionado of the Japanese way of life. [Laughs] And because they don’t wear shoes in an office, everybody who would come into my office would have to take their shoes off." Robert Morse
"I like them all. I think for me, my favorite scene that I’ve shot goes all the way back to Season 1 [Episode 13, ‘The Wheel’] when Harry stayed in the office overnight in his underwear. And there’s that scene with Don Draper in his office, and they’re two broken guys talking about anything but the stuff they should be talking about. Harry talked about the Lascaux cave paintings and how he took pictures of girls in college, all this crazy stuff, and I really loved that scene. I thought it was so quiet and beautiful and so well-written. It was a true pleasure to get that scene — and it was my first one-on-one with Don Draper, and that was exciting." Rich Sommer
"It’s ‘The Suitcase’ [Season 4, Episode 7]. It’s been my favorite since I turned the last page of the script — it was incredible." Aaron Staton
"I think that the first episode where I realized that this could not be done on any other show was ‘Maidenform’ [Season 2, Episode 6]. That’s a very special episode to me, because it’s really about how other people see you, and it’s a tough thing to express dramatically." Matthew Weiner
Do you know what are the glasses called, that Roger Sterling wears?
I’m not 100% sure, so I went ahead and did some googling for vintage glasses and found these which look pretty similar. Another link tells me they’re Rockabilly but all I know about fashion is what I like really, so I hope it’s right!
I think the reason January is so good as Betty is that Betty is an flat, mean person. Such a character is perfectly-suited to someone with very limited acting abilities. So I think she's perfect for the role and does a great job with it, but she's not a good actress.
That's not even the actual story though. January was one of the last actresses called back for the role of Peggy – it was between her and Elisabeth Moss – and, when it went to Moss, Weiner expanded Betty's role to accomodate the talent he saw in January.
You know i really don’t like January as an actress, i think she is very dry and bland and can’t act for a nickel, she has a pretty face but thats about it, i recently saw a panel (old one) where Matthew Weiner said that they were planing on just hiring a model to read some lines for betty for the first ep than they would replace the model with an actress if the show got picked up but they ended up keeping her, now it makes sense to me why shes on the show... what are your thoughts on her acting?
I think her acting as Betty Draper is perfection. Unpopular opinion, but that’s just me.
What do you guys think of Megan? Do you think she and Betty will clash, or will they pretty much get along?
Personally, not a fan of Megan. But only because I don’t really trust people who are too seemingly perfect! I think Betty will be really jealous of her, more so than she was of Jane’s friend in the restaurant. I hope there’s a cat fight. And jelly. (Just kidding…) Saint Megan will probably be nice to Betty. Beyond that, I’m not sure.
We do love both JJ and Betty here, and I think both of us could go on seriously long winded rants about people’s perception of both. I really do wonder why it is people seem to despise Betty so much when she’s no more guilty of doing anything worse than the other characters. Human beings are all so flawed, and Betty Draper is just a product of her upbringing and having been completely sheltered by her family, their and her own expectations, and Don. We love you Betty, we love you January. Never forget!
What about next year? Will Season 5 be eligible for awards?
I looked it up and yes I believe so!
“1. Only programs aired for a minimum of six original segments during the calendar year on access television during prime time (8:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday 7:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. Sunday) are eligible.”
I hope Dr. Rapist has been "killed" in Vietnam so we won't have to see him at all this season... or ever again. Just my 2 cents.
I don’t know whether I want him to be killed or not. I mean I don’t like his character at all, but I really do think that storywise, killing him off is the best way to go. It leaves Joan as a single mother in a time when that was pretty frowned upon. Poor girl never gets a break. Can’t wait to seeeee.