Amanda Peet Reveals the ‘Mad Men’ Role She Pitched Matt Weiner But Didn’t Get (Exclusive)
By Stacy Lambe
Amanda Peet is no stranger to making interesting choices when it comes to her acting career. After breaking out with The Whole Nine Yards, the actress could be seen in everything from the thriller Identity to Woody Allen’s Melinda and Melinda. In recent years, she’s found her stride with a return to TV in a recurring role on The Good Wife as well as the leads on HBO’s Togetherness, opposite Mark Duplass and Melanie Lynskey, and IFC’s Brockmire, which has been renewed for a third and fourth season.
While she joking laments that her recent TV roles are the result of “slim pickings,” Peet tells ET that there “are certain things that you just have to take a shot on.”
And her latest is with Matt Weiner’s ambitious new anthology series, The Romanoffs, which is now streaming on Amazon. The star-studded ensemble sees many actors in unexpected parts, but perhaps none more surprising than the 46-year-old actress playing a grandmother in the episode “Expectation,” which follows a woman over a single day as she is confronted with the many lies she’s told.
When sent the script for the episode, Peet didn’t believe this role was meant for her. “The whole thing was about a f**king woman becoming a grandmother,” she says.
As it turns out, it was -- much to the shock of Peet, who asked if she should dye her hair gray or do anything to age her appearance before filming. “I was like, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to get into it,” she says, revealing that being told not to change anything made her feel even more vulnerable.
She was, however, able to channel that energy into the performance. “All the panic that I had about being eligible to play the part was appropriate for what [my character]’s going through in the script. That was not lost on me,” she says.
Ultimately, Peet says she did not turn down the role because “if you watched Mad Men and you’re an actor and Matt sends you a script, you’re like, ‘Where do you want me to be? And when? And should I bring my own brown bag lunch?’”
While many actors wanted to be on Mad Men during the show’s seven-season run -- Kristin Chenoweth even famously pleaded for a role while accepting an Emmy for her canceled series, Pushing Daisies -- Peet’s desire to be on Weiner’s drama about the 1960s advertising world ran deeper.
Her grandmother, Margot Sherman Peet, was the first female graduate of the University of Michigan journalism department and later worked at McCann-Erickson, where she advanced from a copywriter to senior vice president and became the first woman to serve on the agency’s board. In 1958 she was named Advertising Woman of the Year.
“In the ‘50s, that was quite something,” Peet says of her late grandmother, who died at age 90 in 1997. Believing that Weiner would be interested in the story, she reached out to his agent during the first season. “I was like, ‘He’s going to feel like he cast me in order to get this story.’”
Unfortunately for her, Weiner was not interested -- at least at the time.
“I was really depressed I wasn't on the show,” Peet says, adding: “Even though nothing should have been different. It was just as it should be.”
Now she's part of The Romanoffs.
“Expectation” premieres Friday, Oct. 26; previous episodes of The Romanoffs are now streaming on Amazon.