What’s not to love about Mad Men’s Pete Campbell? Before the second-season premiere, we went out on a limb with our passionate defense of his weaselly charms. And with the third season’s revelation that Vincent Kartheiser has a future as a Dancing With the Stars front-runner should he ever decide to leave Mad Men, we find ourselves gaining more and more appreciation for both the character and the actor who portrays him (even though he may, in fact, be annoying in real life). Which is exactly why we found this interview that he recently did with Vanity Fair so enthralling. Whether he’s discussing how he developed his character with series creator Matthew Weiner, dissing Aaron Spelling, or discussing the random profanities he shouts out before filming his scenes, he seems to be an endlessly fascinating specimen.
The piece begins with the revelation that Kartheiser does some, um, very unique vocal exercises before shooting his scenes as Pete Campbell. He screams out things like “What’s wrong with me! Fuck life in the ass” or “I wish I could be anyone on earth but me!” just slightly prior to the cameras rolling, which sort of makes sense, if you think about what it must take to bring the seething anger and jealousy that’s boiling below Pete’s surface to life. And he also confesses that working on an incredibly well-written show like Mad Men is, somewhat surprisingly, much easier for him than it would be to work on something like the 90210 reboot:
It’s easier to do Shakespeare than Spelling, and I know that sounds crazy, because the challenge of Shakespeare is living up to Shakespeare, living up to that word, not failing, you know, where with Aaron Spelling it’s like, just try to look good. (Laughs) Or maybe don’t use Spelling there, that’s bad … No you can. He’s dead.
Spoken like a true Mad Man, don’t you think?