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Interview: Part two of our chat with Mad Men's Bryan Batt

We speak with the actor ahead of his hotly-anticipated London show...


Bryan Batt has done it all. He's probably best known for starring in Mad Men, and last year he even appeared alongside Brad Pitt and Chiwetel Ejifor in the Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave. But Bryan's true love lies in the theatre. And from 3 until 7 June, you can catch Bryan with his one-man show Batt on a Hot Tin Roof at London's Crazy Coqs.

In the first part of the interview, we spoke to Bryan about the inspiration behind his one man show, his relationship with his family and his experience of coming out.

In part two, we speak with Bryan about the highlights of his show, Mad Men and the future...

So Bryan, back to the show, what do you believe is one of its highlights?
I do do a song towards the end of the show called Way Ahead Of My Time and it’s a wonderful number, about the first gay caveman and it’s adorable. Every story in the show is true, it’s not like I made it up then fixed and tweaked it. Then there are some really sentimental moments in the show like the relationship with my father. When i visited my father when he was ill, we had this discussion and that’s when he really got me. And then I sing this beautiful song about Baseball, it’s a really touching moment in the show.

Are you excited to be preforming your show in London?
Oh God yes. My accompanist is James Church, he’s fantastic. I did the show last summer and it went really well and the powers at be liked it so much they said they wanted it back.

How did you feel about playing the character Sal in Mad Men?
When I read the breakdown of the character, it was clear that Sal was gay to a modern audience, but in the world of the 1960’s you couldn’t really tell and that was hard to play, because i’m pretty much an open book. We had to leave these little cracks in Sal’s veneer leading a modern audience to recognise that he was gay. What I was happy with was that Matt Weiner really wanted to cast a gay man in the role. You rarely hear that you know, you usually here that they want the best actor in the world.

You nearly didn’t get the role is that right, because you missed the first audition to take your goddaughter to Paris?
Yes. It was to say thank you for saving the house, my mum, the store and the car during Hurricane Katrina. Before Mad Men I never really worked in television, it wasn’t the medium that really worked for me. But the trip to Paris was too important to cancel. As it turned out though, they didn’t find who they wanted. I was in New York rehearsing for a play at the time when my agent called saying ‘remember that TV pilot?’ and I said sure, in which he said ‘can you go in your lunch break?’ So I ran over, read, thought it went well, went back to rehearsal and the next day my agent called and said you got it.

That’s great. Have you had any talks with Matt Weiner since leaving the show?
Oh gosh yes, we all keep in touch. It was hard at first for me to accept that my character that everyone loved so much got fired from his job but that’s what would happen at the time and still does. There was discussion that he [Sal] could come back and what would happen. I can’t speak from Matt, but I think that the arc of the character was so well handled and heart-breaking that if we went back and did anything else it would lessen the impact that had happened. That being said there still filming the last of the season, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but of course I’d love to go back again. What’s wonderful about it is that everywhere I go, people recognise me from the show and the reactions are always positive.

So what have you got lined up in the future?
I have a couple of movies waiting to get released. I was just in 12 Years a Slave, which came out last year. I’ve got one coming out with Kevin Kine and Susan Sarandon called the Last of Robin Hood, then I am filming one this summer after London. I’m keeping busy. I hope some casting director or some producer sees the show in London and thinks of me for a company on the west end, I would love to do that.

Let’s hope so. Best of luck with your show in London.

Bryan will be preforming his show at London's Crazy Coqs, Brasserie Zedel. Tickets cost £25 and are available online by clicking here, or by calling 020 7734 4888.

Words Ben Walker, @benjwalker94

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