If Jon Hamm Plays Superman, Will It Kill Don Draper?

"Those are sort of the Internet things that one person says and then 15 more people Twitter [it] and then it becomes this sort of phenomenon." So said Jon Hamm earlier today on Live with Regis and Kelly when asked about the rumors that he'd don the red cape to star as Superman. Deep breath, Mad Men fans: we're all in the clear, for now. But if this Internet meme becomes reality, would Superman kill Don Draper?

There is no getting around the simple fact that Hamm would be perfect for Superman. His chiseled, Missouri-bred jawline and all-American looks make him an ideal choice for The Man of Steel; to echo 30 Rock's Liz Lemon, the man's baseline look is "cartoon pilot." And since Warner Bros. eventual Superman reboot will be handled in some part by Christopher Nolan -- assuming he doesn't direct, he'll probably still consult -- it's not like Hamm would be left floundering in some third-rate blockbuster like so many TV-famous actors and actresses who tried to make the leap to the big screen. As Hamm excitedly said to Regis and Kelly, "It's sort of news to me, so if the powers that be are thinking that, I'd like them to get in touch with me. Maybe we can discuss it." And how.

As a selfish Mad Men fan, however, Hamm-as-Superman is the last thing I'd want to see. This is not because I want the series to last forever. Far from it, actually; I want Matthew Weiner to stick to his self-imposed six-season limit and get out before it's too late. But taking the role of Superman would turn Hamm into Superman. To paraphrase an oft-said thing about Academy Award winners, playing Superman would become the first line of Hamm's obituary.

In his ventures outside of the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, Hamm has been inseparable from his iconic small-screen creation, despite the fact that he's not really all that much like him personally. Still, there's Don Draper on 30 Rock, in The Town and celebrating after the Emmys. Why wouldn't he just become Don Draper playing Superman? Because Superman is Superman, the most recognizable superhero in the world. Maybe we, the two million strong Mad Men fans who love Hamm, will always know him as Don Draper, but 10 years from now -- when Mad Men is a foggy, Sopranos-like memory and Hamm is wearing blue tights -- will the rest of the planet?

Legacy isn't something you often hear associated with TV shows, but for a select few, the word holds value. Think: The Wire, The Sopranos. Mad Men belongs in the conversation as one of those shows that will stand the test of time, that will still be watched when DVDs and Blu-rays become microchips. Weiner has always said that he fought to cast Hamm as Don Draper not just because he was perfect for the role, but because he was an unknown who was perfect for the role. When Mad Men began, the audience had no preconceived notions of Hamm, except that he was seemingly born out of Central Casting circa 1955. It worked, and, of course, the rest is history.

But what of history? If the goal of Mad Men is to be an indelible series that stands the test of time, then having the leading character star as a superhero would really cut that off at the knees. Future generations won't be watching that unknown -- they'll be watching Superman.

Look, I'm not foolish enough to think that being Superman would be anything but a major win for Jon Hamm. It would be great for his current career, great for his future career and really makes too much sense to not happen. I'm just not ready to sacrifice Don Draper to see it happen.


  • Devin Faraci says:

    Whatever happens with MAD MEN, Jon Hamm is going to go on to be a bigger star than he is now. Whatever jobs he takes after the show, it's likely that they'll be big movie jobs and that future generations will see him through the prism of those big movies.
    Short of Hamm retiring after MAD MEN is over, I don't know how to protect your personal vision of who he is.

  • Ted says:

    All due respect, but Superman would not be a major win for Jon Hamm. Rather, it would be a major embarrassment.

  • TurdBlossom says:

    Too old.

  • hollywoodjeffy says:

    Does anyone remember the Superman curse? Of the three actors who've played this character, two are dead and one has a dead career. Hamm would do well to steer clear of this.

  • CiscoMan says:

    On the flip side of the coin, I hate seeing actors from The Wire turn up in small roles in other projects. My immediate reaction is always disappointment that they've been forced to -- gasp -- make a living by doing something not as magnificent as The Wire. Like when Michael K. Williams showed up in The Road, and all I could think was, "No way Viggo gets the drop on Omar like that. NO WAY. That's Omar!"
    So, Don Draper playing Supes... in terms of legacy, it's a lateral move at worst, isn't it?

  • ZombieStrike says:

    Oh, don't be silly. Christopher Reeve was 26 when he made the first Superman. Jon Hamm is 39. That's like almost exactly the same age.

  • Nope! says:

    If Weiner does end Mad Men at 6 seasons than the show would be over before Superman even gets released. Therefore, this whole article means nothing (aside from the whole 'legacy' nonsense).
    Right now Chris Nolan has Batman 3 penciled in for a summer 2012 release, so Superman would likely not come out till summer 2013 at the soonest.
    That being said, Hamm will not play Clark Kent unless the Goyer/J.Nolan's storyline calls for an older version of the character, but he would certainly be perfect for this.

  • Derek says:

    So Hamm shouldn't play Superman because Mad Men should be the peak of his career and legacy, and the bi-line for his obituary? That's just silly.
    And the Superman curse is superstitious hogwash. Very few actors gain A-list careers, and any measure of success is fortuitous. And the deaths of George Reeves and Christopher Reeve is nothing more than unfortunate coincidence.

  • Bradley Paul Valentine says:

    Thing is that if Hamm is 39, then there's really no chance Warner were hire him. Come on, guys. That's pretty basic common sense. HOWEVER. I could see Hamm being drafted for a oner or a series where it would go on without Hamm. Say SUPERMAN v BATMAN or JUSTICE LEAGUE.

  • My friend and I retconned The Office into The Wire by positing that Stringer Bell actually survived and entered the witness protection program, whereupon he changed his name to Charles Miner and started working for a paper company.

  • anna says:

    He's too old for Superman. Can you imagine him in the tights? No way.

  • jim mags says:

    Jon would make an excellent Napoleon Solo in a "Man from U.N.C.L.E." reboot.
    I could see Mat Damon as Illya. Sounds like a monster hit to me.

  • William Dwyer says:

    Superman should always be an unknown actor. As the name of Superman will always outshine it. This is just as silly as the stupid internet rumors that had Nicolas Cage as the man of steel for Superman Returns. I personally do not think Hamm is too old for the role. Maybe for the reboot, if they go through with it. if there ever was a super hero franchise that needed it, it's Superman. But let's be serious, if they do not reboot the franchise, and go with the current story line. I have no problem with a slightly older Superman.
    What the franchise needs are actors that can...act...and a script...that actually tells a story well. Superman Returns came close, but was WAY too slow.

  • William Dwyer says:

    You know? Now that I think of it...Hamm would be an excellent Sinistro.
    The guy in yellow at the end of the trailer.

  • Will C. says:

    Hamm might play a good Sinestro. But from what I have seen, Mark Strong ( He play Frank D'Amico in the Kickass movie, for those who don't know who he is.) is who is playing Sinestro in the Green Lantern movie.

  • Will C. says:

    Hamm might play a good Sinestro. But from what I have seen, Mark Strong ( He play Frank D'Amico in the Kickass movie, for those who don't know who he is.) is who is playing Sinestro in the Green Lantern movie.

  • Jerseyprof says:

    Definitely! Hamm for Napoleon Solo. They're casting it now. Mr. Hamm, call your agent!