[Mad Men executive producer] Scott Hornbacher saw Humpday and liked it and I got a meeting with him. After that, I got a call that [Mad Men creator] Matthew Weiner wanted to meet with me. I was such a super fan that just getting a meeting with him was SO EXCITING.
When did you learn you got the gig?
Well, every season they bring in one guest director—last year it was Barbet Schroder—and it's usually for episode twelve. But then a director dropped out of episode ten, right when my summer schedule opened up, and I had about five or six days to get myself down to L.A., where I stayed from June 15-August 15, in a little mother-in-law apartment in Silver Lake. This was my first time directing TV, and I spent the first three-and-a-half weeks shadowing the director of episode eight, then jumped right into mine.
What was the hardest scene to direct? My most stressful day was the day with the stunt—which, as you saw, was a simple stunt, a guy getting whacked with a stick. But it was terrifying for me! We had a stunt guy, a stunt weapon, and it turned out great, but it was all totally new to me. And recreating the Playboy Club of 1965 New York, dealing with all those extras—it also turned out well but it was stressful.
What was your favorite scene? Where I'm happiest is working closely with one or two or three actors, trying to find the nuances of the emotional scenes—Roger and Joan at the doctors' office, or later in his office, that's what I love. I'm an actor junkie. The most amazing day was doing four scenes in a row with Jon Hamm, all his emotional scenes. What astonished me was how quickly actors on television must accomplish what they do. They show up on set, we block the scene, they're off to hair and makeup. But when he was having that panic attack, he was there.
Where did your time with the show land in its recent season of Emmy wins and Rolling Stone covers? I was there for the Emmy nominations—I was still shadowing—and there was definitely champagne on the set that day. What happened when I was directing was the Season Premiere, which aired on day two of my shoot. I had to work through the premiere but I went to the afterparty at Chateau Marmont. I was exhausted but I couldn't not go! I didn't have a drop of alcohol, because I had to be functional on set the next morning.
Congratulations, Lynn, and congratulations, Mad Men!