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Christina HendricksChristina Hendricks - About her career - Flare Magazine May 2013 Interview
Monday 6 May 2013, by Webmaster
Christina Hendricks’s May Cover Story
Yes, in his invention of office queen bee Joan Harris, Mad Men’s creator, Matthew Weiner, developed an unusually multi-faceted female role. But it’s Christina Hendricks’s preternatural, absolute inhabiting of Joanie that has made her one of television’s most fascinating and heart-rending heroines of all time. Her arched, wry smile adds depth to her every-woman-for-herself bitchiness: "Peggy, this isn’t China, there’s no money in virginity." And the way she deploys that crazy body, alternately as supplicant, sex toy and tank, keeps Mad Men’s essential question for its female viewers—whether they’re dependent on men, or they’re dependent on us—alive as an endless source of delicious, painful tension.
Now into the award-winning show’s sixth season, both Hendricks and Harris—who was made partner last season—find themselves mastering ever greater career challenges. But Hendricks, at 38, is in what Californians would call a good place. Recently, she and her husband of three years, fellow actor Geoffrey Arend, purchased a house in a low-key bohemian Los Angeles neighbourhood, and from this perch of domestic tranquility she’s making the transition from television to film with the same ease that she moved from teenage modelling to acting.
Of her work with Elle Fanning (Hendricks plays her mother) in Sally Potter’s haunting Ginger & Rosa, San Francisco Chronicle film critic Mick LaSalle wrote that they “go to some bleak and wrenching places and return with the best work of their lives.” But it’s her upcoming projects that are positioning Hendricks to become the silver screen’s next big breakout star. In March, it was announced that she would be starring in the movie adaptation of Joan Didion’s A Book of Common Prayer. And she’ll be assuming the lead role in How to Catch a Monster, her Drive co-star Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut.
On Her New Project:
Talk about feeling intimidated. [Ryan] called me and asked me if I was interested in doing this film and I said: “One, of course, yes, and two, why me? And three, I don’t want to disappoint you.” He’s been fantastic, involving me artistically and letting me be along the road of casting and costume design. I’ve seen story boards and imagery and I’ve heard music. It’s the largest role I’ve ever had, so this is one I’m definitely aware of my anxiety about.
On Being Anxious:
Always, yes. You don’t want to disappoint the people who have put their trust in you. I take it very seriously. I keep myself up at night with worry and excitement and being unsure. I’ve worked in television for so long that those people are a family to me, and I know what to expect when I show up and I know who’s going to be there, but every time you do a film it’s like the first day of school. You don’t know what the kids are going to be like; you don’t know what your environment is going to be like. The first-day jitters that everyone gets last a little longer for me.
I tend to hold my breath and run toward it because it’s all I can do. It’s the only option. I remember when I moved to New York for the first time, or when I moved to Los Angeles for the first time, it was: this is terrifying, but not doing it is more terrifying.
I feel like I know her so well now. In the beginning, a script would come out and I’d think, Oh! So Joan’s the kind of person who would do that. Interesting. I don’t know if I like Joan! In the first season we saw this bossy, gossipy, sassy girl who is now all of those things but is also more sensitive and has gotten knocked down and gotten back up again, has friends and lovers and has a child and has an ex-husband, and she’s just many more things so she’s even more fun to play.
On What Joan Did To Make Partner:
I know. I know. Well, I had been given some warning [Joan is asked to sleep with a client]. So I knew it was going to happen and as an actress you’re excited because it’s so meaty and great. I talked to Matt and he used that story line because he had heard so many stories of things like that happening. It was a different time and she’s protecting herself and her family and her baby and... I think the consensus is, you had to do what you had to do. Good for you. You made partner. I haven’t had much negative response to it, aside from people saying it’s heartbreaking. But no one has been like, “JOAN! Shame on you!”
On Joan’s Fans:
Joan has a major support system, which is awesome. I think the funniest thing is that a lot of times people will call out “Joanie” in the grocery store. That’s not my name but I know you’re talking to me! I think it’s sweet because really only one person on the show calls me Joanie, and that’s Roger.
On What Joan Has Taught Her:
Definitely about having more confidence and trusting your decisions—and about pencil skirts, which I now have, like, 75 of. I was like, why didn’t I know about this skirt before!
On What She’d Teach Joan:
To have more of a sense of humour and allow herself to be more silly. Let her hair down.
In London I got to do the British Fashion Awards and I did Hussein Chalayan. That was really, really cool and Björk was in the show too. In fact I only got to do a few fashion shows because I wasn’t that tall.
Get more information about Christina Hendricks in Firefly
On Her Favourite Designers:
There are definitely designers that I just love and I just know work really well with my figure. L’Wren Scott, Vivienne Westwood, Zac Posen, Carolina Herrera. Those are designers that you’ll always see me wear again and again.
On Modelling For Vivienne Westwood’s Jewellery Line:
A dream come true. She’s got such strong opinions and has so many great stories and to be on a photo shoot and have her styling you is like... She created punk rock fashion, I mean she’s just—I get goosebumps when I think about her. My husband was on set and [there were] all these great behind-the-scenes photos. We sent a bunch to Vivienne and her husband, Andreas. Just the other day I was thinking, I’ve gotta get one to remind myself that it actually happened.
I’ve been to a million auditions and have been rejected a million times, it’s something that I’m used to. You’re either right for it or you’re not right for it. You could leave thinking you had the best audition in the world and they say you don’t look like the person I imagined. It has nothing to do with your talent. Someone could have just broken up with a redhead the other day and not want to hire me.
On Awards Shows:
Once you’re at these things you have a good time and it’s fun, but the process of getting there sometimes is not. You’re like, “I just wanna stay home! I wanna stay home!” I had to go to work at 7 a.m. on the Monday after the Oscars so I watched it on my couch.
On The Perks Of Fame:
It took having to be an actress to finally get to be shot by all the photographers that I so desperately wanted to work with as a model—Patrick Demarchelier, Walter Chin—but they were just shooting supermodels. I’d love to be shot by Steven Meisel. And I get to wear much prettier clothes than I used to and I REALLY like that perk.
On The Paparazzi:
I’m not out doing crazy things! I’m just not that famous, to be quite honest. I get to live a very normal life. I don’t have a situation like Jennifer Aniston, where I have people camped outside my house. I can take the garbage out and walk down the street and have ramen and it’s fine.
I’ve always felt very at home there and I found that the people were very warm in Toronto and Halifax, where there are some great little restaurants. They let me come behind the bar and taught me to shuck oysters. We drove down to Peggy’s Cove and Cape Breton, did the Celtic Colours celebration. It was so outrageously beautiful. I do seem to surround myself with Canadians. And Toronto is one of my favourite cities. If I thought I could work there as much and that I wasn’t gonna freeze my butt off, I’d probably live up there. On Being Told Anne Of Green Gables Star Megan Follows Lives In Her Neighbourhood In L.A.:
What?! I got goosebumps again. Now I’m going to be trolling the streets looking for her. Do you think she’s at the farmers’ market? I was obsessed with the show. I have the box set at home. Megan Follows inspired me so much.
Every once in a while I’ll get caught up on something and can’t move forward. Right now I’m caught up on curtains. They’re tricky. I’ve been on eBay getting rugs and having a blast. We just spent four months redoing our kitchen, which was an ordeal, but I’m so in love with it now.
When I met Beau [her Canadian makeup artist], he said something like "I just want to have a caftans-and-casseroles day,” and I said, “That’s my life.” All I do is wear caftans at home and if I’m not going to one of the awards shows, I’ll invite my girlfriends over and make casseroles. I do a really good chicken divan. Broccoli spears, chicken and Velveeta and bread crumbs, and listen, you can try to replace the Velveeta, you can try to class it up, but it is not as good!
I love to cook. My husband is an amazing cook as well. When I’m working, he cooks and when he’s working, I cook. He’s kind of surpassed me recently. I got him a butchering class for Valentine’s Day. He’s been curing meats and making his own pastrami and bacon. He’s at an elevated status. I just reap the benefits.
On Yelp Revisionism:
I’m a Yelper. I make sure that if I have a really great experience I write about it, and if I have a bad experience I write about it. I Yelped the gutter cleaners that I used recently. They were so fabulous that I felt: “Everyone has to use these gutter cleaners, they’re so wonderful!”
Recently I went to a restaurant that I wrote a scathing review of. Then my friends said it was really good. I went back and it was GOOD! So now I have to go back and give it a good review. Which I will do.
On Her Other Dream:
I always wanted to be a florist. Unless you’re buying flowers for a funeral, you’re only going in there for a pretty happy reason. In fact after the first season of Mad Men, I worked at a florist. We had shot the pilot and it hadn’t aired yet. We had to wait a year to shoot because Matthew Weiner was finishing The Sopranos. And all these actors that I’d worked with would come in and say, “Oh...Everything OK?” And I said “No! I’ve just always wanted to work at a florist.” And they would say, “OK, can you help me pick out a bouquet?” And I’d be like, “I’ll make you one!” I’ve always been pretty good at it. I love a peony, I love a delphinium, I like garden-style flowers, less formal, I like something with a berry. An English-garden kind of situation.
On Her Future:
I just want to be happy and healthy. I want to be able to spend many, many fun years with my husband. That’s all you can ask for.