One of Mad Men's inevitable 1968 events happened on Sunday, when the assassination of Martin Luther King shook an unstable nation to its core. While other characters retreated to their own private corners of New York City to absorb the shock, Henry Francis (Christopher Stanley) marched straight through the middle of history. Betty’s politico husband joined Mayor Lindsay on his famous riot-calming visit to Harlem and left galvanized, ready to fight for justice in the New York State Senate. It’s a new identity for him, and possibly for Betty, who barely seems to recognize herself in the mirror anymore. If Henry becomes a public figure, it could bring both he and Betty into the spotlight—and close the gap between Don Draper’s world and their own. While Henry Francis is moving up in the world, actor Christopher Stanley isn’t doing so badly himself; you may have seen him in a couple of little movies called Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. GQ spoke to Stanley about Henry’s ambitions, his sex life with Betty, that bizarre rape joke—and how sometimes, playing Henry Francis feels like being on a whole different show.
GQ: There’s a video of you giving advice to young girls, but what’s the most important piece of wisdom you’d share with a son?
Jon Hamm: I don’t know, honestly. Boys are obviously very different than girls. I used to be a teacher, and herding eighth grade children around a classroom is tricky enough, but boys are particularly tricky. So mostly my advice is just to stop talking and be nicer, because they can be both loud and super, super annoying. I don’t know…I’m from the Midwest—being polite goes a long way with me.
GQ: Right, that’s some advice that could also apply to grown-ups.
Jon Hamm: Well, “stop talking” could apply to everybody.