Alison Brie and Kiernan Shipka Reflect on 'Mad Men' 15 Years Later (Exclusive)
By Stacy Lambe
Ahead of Mad Men’s 15th anniversary in July, Alison Brie and Kiernan Shipka are reflecting on the impact of creator Matthew Weiner’s AMC series about the professional and personal lives of employees at an advertising firm set in the 1960s. “I was like, ‘15 years, but I haven’t aged a day,’” Brie joked about looking back on the series.
The actress played Trudy, the wife of young, ambitious account executive Peter Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser), while Shipka played Sally, the wide-eyed daughter of charismatic and often-troubled creative director Don Draper (Jon Hamm).
For Brie, the series was her first major onscreen role, quickly followed by her breakout part as Annie on NBC’s Community, which overlapped for several seasons. “First of all, that show really changed my life, and it was one of the first things I worked on in television,” she told ET’s Lauren Zima while promoting Apple TV+’s new female-led anthology series, Roar, in which she stars in a Ghost-like episode.
“Coming out of college and theater school, that was one of my first jobs and it really taught me a lot about acting on the small screen,” she continued. “I had studied theater and I wasn’t used to being on camera. And that show was so nuanced and the writing was so intricate, so it was really like a second kind of school for me, in terms of learning how to act on camera.”
Since Mad Men ended in 2015, the TV landscape has changed dramatically, with reboots and revivals now a major trend. But that’s not something Brie wants to see happen to the beloved drama, which ran for seven seasons. “I think it’s just so perfect as it was and reboots are so tricky, you know. It’s got a lot of people you’re trying to please and maybe we could just let it live on,” she said, suggesting that it’s something fans “could watch forever now with streaming.”
“It’s not like before, where if you didn’t catch it live you might never see it again. People can go back and rewatch,” she continued.
Her feelings echo Hamm’s sentiments, when he was asked about it in relation to reports of True Bloodgetting rebooted. “I'm of the belief that when a story's told, it's probably done being told. So I don't know, maybe there's another version of it out there somewhere, but I hope not,” he said.
As for where she thinks Trudy, who separated from Peter before the two ended up back together, is today, Brie admitted, “I never thought about it.”
Meanwhile, Shipka is ready to reprise her role as Sally, who is a young teen still coming into her own by the end of the series. After Mad Men ended, there were fans who hoped that Weiner might someday pick things back up with her, as she explored life in the 1980s.
“I’m not done with Sally,” Shipka said, revealing that she’s more than ready to continue her story. “I don't think she’d be in New York. I think she’d do L.A… But I’m not done with her at all.”
Now 22, Shipka could certainly play a more adult version of Sally akin to her latest character, a film executive’s ambitious intern, Lou Simms, opposite Diane Kruger on the Roku original series Swimming With Sharks.
In the meantime, Shipka recently bumped into her former onscreen father and co-star, Hamm, at an Oscars party -- just one of her mini Mad Men reunions of late. “I always love seeing him,” she said of their latest encounter. “I’ve run into him so much lately. It’s so funny.”
Of course, this time, it was “with a drink in my hand,” Shipka said, noting that it “was a weird thing that we had to work through. But we’re on the other end of it. We speak like adults now. It’s great.”