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John Slattery Takes the Subway, and Eight Other Things We Learned About Mad Men’s Roger Sterling Last Night

John Slattery was one of the New York presenters at the Casting Society of America’s Artios Awards last night — the awards were bi-coastal, with a simultaneous ceremony in L.A. — and we learned a few things about the enigmatic person who brings Mad Men’s Roger Sterling to life.

1. Slattery’s funniest casting call story is too long to tell at an awards ceremony in its entirety. "God, it goes on too long," he told us in the theater lobby preshow. "But it involves hair dye, Sylvester Stallone, Joy Todd, and oral sex. And I did not get the job."

2. He recycles jokes. "When I was asked to do this, they said, just get up and tell a little casting story," he told the crowd at the American Airlines Theater, and then proceeded to tell the same joke he’d just told us. (It was still funny.)

3. Slattery said he was “out of the country” over the weekend, so he missed co-star Jon Hamm hosting SNL on Saturday. But he did speak to him afterward: "He said he managed not to step on his own private parts," reports Slattery.

4. He'll do endorsements. "A friend of mine owns a Christmas-tree facility in Maine," he told us. "I think I might be the official voice of that."

5. Whenever he and his wife, Talia Balsam, act together, they always end up side by side and never face-to-face. The two just shot a film called Return together, and have also worked on Mad Men and K Street. "I’s funny, we’re never looking at each other; we’re always next to each other,” he said.

6. He’s keeping busy during the off-season. In addition to Return, Slattery will direct a short film and try to get a movie he wrote off the ground before Mad Men starts shooting again next year. He declined to discuss either project further.

7. The beard is for a role. And he very much doubts we’ll be seeing Roger Sterling with facial hair in Mad Men's fifth season. "Maybe some elephant bells and a medallion, though," he said.

8. He waits in line like a regular person. After the awards, Slattery stood around the postshow reception chatting with everyone, and then we realized he was actually in a long line inching its way toward the coat check. Wait, he doesn’t have assistants to do that for him?

9. He takes the subway. Heading into the Times Square subway station on 42nd Street, we spotted Slattery at the top of the stairs talking on his cell, his wife by his side. We went downstairs, and few moments later the pair entered the station and headed onto the downtown 1, 2, 3 train platform.

Photo: Patrick McMullan