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John Slattery of 'Mad Men' gives new season 'Sterling' review

The fifth season of “Mad Men” premieres at 8 p.m. Sunday on AMC.
BY MATTHEW CLAYTON Published: March 23, 2012

John Slattery stayed busy in the 17 months since the last original episode of “Mad Men” appeared on AMC. By the time the new season of “Mad Men” premieres at 8 p.m. Sunday, 525 days will have passed since the airing of the fourth season finale, “Tomorrowland.”

Slattery sympathizes with viewers who barely remember what was happening in those long-ago episodes.

“It was unfortunate,” Slattery said of the production delay in a recent telephone conference call with journalists from across the country. “In my own life, I did a couple of films, hung out with my family, lived my life, secure in the knowledge that it would come back. I always felt that it wasn't finished.”

The public clash between “Mad Men” creator/show-runner Matthew Weiner and AMC concerned Weiner's pay, the show's running time and overall production budget. In an interview with The New York Times earlier this month, Weiner admitted he had quit at one point during the negotiations.

“Yes, I quit, at the negotiation,” Weiner said. “During the negotiation. And in the end, everything worked out.”

Slattery said the show wouldn't be what it is without Weiner, and he's happy to be back, working with the rest of the cast.

“It wouldn't be nearly the show it is without him (Weiner),” he said. “Not even close. It's always good to come back. We really always enjoy each other's company. A couple scenes and you're right back in it.”

Thanks to the “Mad Men” hiatus, Slattery had some extra time on his hands and was able to star in the upcoming independent drama “In Our Nature,” in which he portrays a man who, along with his girlfriend (played by Gabrielle Union), spends a weekend at a vacation home with his estranged son and the son's girlfriend. “In Our Nature” premiered last week at the South By Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas.

Being cast in the starring role of “In Our Nature” might not have happened without his “Mad Men” fame, but that also comes with a price: forever being known as Roger Sterling.

The 25-year acting vet got his start as Pvt. Dylan Leeds in the 1988 television series, “Dirty Dozen: The Series.” From there, Slattery landed TV roles on “Ed,” “Desperate Housewives,” and high-profile films such as “Charlie Wilson's War,” “Iron Man 2,” and 2011's “The Adjustment Bureau” with Matt Damon and Emily Blunt.

Slattery has even gotten into directing, something that happened on the set of “Mad Men.”

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