The grin of impetuous youth

 Posted by on February 12, 2008 at 12:09 pm  Actors & Crew, Matthew Weiner
Feb 122008

Matthew Weiner spoke to the casting of Robert Morse.

He can’t take credit for it; he knew they wanted some “old luminary”. It was Tom Palmer who suggested him, and Weiner was thrilled at the idea.

(There’s no one who reads this who doesn’t know that Robert Morse originated the role of J. Pierrepont Finch in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and who doesn’t get what a brilliant and hilarious nod that is to the fourth wall, right?)

He had to audition, like everyone. He wasn’t at all insulted by that, but he “had nooo idea what was going on”. He kept saying, So much yarn, so little time, which Weiner put into the show. (Was it New Amsterdam? In Ladies Room, in reaction to all the boys running around in t-shirts playing with Right Guard.)

He still doesn’t know the name of his character. He calls himself Sterling Cooper.


Weiner then spoke a bit about the Asian-influenced behavior of the character. He said he’d wanted that from the beginning; that it fit the period. He said that while the shoelessness is Asian, he could also wear house shoes, but he took that from someone specific he had known.

And then he revealed…

Really, like most of the things that he does, they come off as eccentricities, but they’re really a way of controlling other people.

See why we could talk to him for like… EVER?


  3 Responses to “The grin of impetuous youth”

  1. William Goldman described more than one of his heroines as Ann-Margret types, and then cast Ann-Marget as one of them in Magic. (Deb might have better details about this.)

    And Steven King described Glen Bateman in the Stand as a Ray Walston type. And there was Ray in the mini-series.

    Of course, all of this becomes more commonplace in this media self-referential, post-modern world.

  2. The closest thing I can think of to the casting of Robert Morse as Cooper is the one good joke in the otherwise bad Down With Love. It was an overly precious salute to the Rock Hudson/Doris Day movies, but somebody had the inspired idea of casting Tony Randall (it may have been his last movie performance) as the company president.

    I can’t remember the actual actor involved (let’s say it was James Garner, so I can tell the story), but I once read about a director who was trying to cast a particular part in a movie. He said that the role called for “a James Garner type,” and he and his casting people went after several different actors, but couldn’t get any of them. Then, with the simplicity of genius, someone said, “Why don’t we just ask James Garner?” D’oh!

  3. […] I’d written a little piece in which Matthew Weiner talks about casting him (and other tales) here. […]

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