Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser photographed by Kurt Iswarienko for Mr Porter. Love the moustache.....
From Mr Porter.
For instance, when I ask him what he has in common with Pete Campbell, he doesn't flinch: "A whole lot!" It's not the most obvious answer, given that Campbell has been described as preppy, oily, insecure, scheming and ruthless. But Mr Kartheiser doesn't care.
"He's perpetually unsatisfied, and that's a trait I share," he says. "Peter is a little man, and so am I. Little physically, but also in the game. Remember, a lot of our similarities come down to the creator, Matthew Weiner, knowing his actors. He writes to people's strengths. So he might look at me and say, 'Oh Vinny has an inferiority complex'. Well Pete has one too!"
There's a kind of symbiosis between characters and cast and how the two evolve. Certainly Don Draper's strength and stature are mirrored by Mr Jon Hamm on set, just as Campbell's insecurity is reflected in Mr Kartheiser.
"Don't get me wrong, I get along terribly well with the cast," he says. "I don't think they hate me as much as they hate Pete Campbell, but maybe I worry that they do. So I share that with Pete."
That's a very frank admission.
"And Pete Campbell is very frank! He says things that are socially awkward but f***ing true, and I do that a lot. I'm saying these things to you now and I know I'll get calls from cast members saying, 'Dude, do you think I hate you? Stop telling people that. I might hate you if you say that again'."
The clearest parallel between the two men is more profound. Mr Kartheiser was 26 when he joined the cast of Mad Men, just as Campbell was when he joined Sterling Cooper. And over the past seven years, both men have matured, made money and achieved great success in their careers, an experience that has changed them in unexpected ways. While Campbell went from account executive to partner, a position he once craved but now finds unfulfilling, Mr Kartheiser rose from relative obscurity to starring in one of the most acclaimed shows on television. But his disillusion is the same.
"It's like Oscar Wilde said: 'there are two great tragedies in life'," he says. "'One is not getting what you want, and the other is getting it.'"
There's no question that Mr Kartheiser has got what he always wanted. He started acting at the age of six, in local theatre in Minneapolis, and found success as a regular on the TV series Angel for a few years. But Mad Men was different. He knew instantly that it was a special project - he's likened it to a Russian novel in its complexity and subtext, and he has only the highest praise for Messrs Weiner and Hamm.
And like Pete Campbell, success isn't as he imagined it as a younger man. "Teenagers have a much clearer perspective of who they are than when they're 30, you know?" he says. "A teenager can say, 'I really believe in animals, and I want to be a veterinarian and you should pursue your dreams...' But most people, when they grow up, they're like, 'f*** animals. And f*** your dreams! My dreams got s*** on, so will yours!' They stop being the pure colours they once were and turn into these stomped out shadows of who they thought they would be."
What sort of a person did you think you would become?
"I thought I'd be an adult!" He looks outraged, as though he's been robbed. "I remember looking at 30 year olds and thinking, 'He smells like an adult, the things he does are adult'. But now I realise that they're just teenagers who got older. You might do adult things like shave your face and pay your taxes, but you have a lot of the same insecurities, a lot of the same socially awkward abilities and, um, not-awkward abilities."
We both notice the irony that he said that last part awkwardly. But I don't want to mention it. It might be awkward.
"I think in America we just look at people's careers and assume they're happy," he continues. "So it can be difficult to then get rid of the idea that professional success will complete me."Full article at Mr Porter.