Jon Hamm Talks Reuniting With John Slattery and Not Imitating Chevy Chase in 'Confess, Fletch' (Exclusive)

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When it comes to the comedy world, there are few shoes bigger to fill than the ones Chevy Chase donned in the late '70s and '80s. Following his breakout turn as an original Saturday Night Live cast member, the actor and comedian went on to become a major comedic leading man, with a stretch of films that included Caddyshack, the National Lampoon Vacation series, and, of course, Fletch.

So, when Jon Hamm signed on to embody the same character that Chase made a comedy icon in 1985's Fletch and 1989's Fletch Lives -- based on the book series by Gregory Mcdonald -- he wanted to pay tribute to the actor and comedian as a "tremendous fan," without attempting to recreate his performance in any way.

"Chevy's contribution to this franchise and to those first two movies are so particular to what he does, that had there been any attempt to do a Chevy Chase impression or anything like that, I would have almost felt like stealing," Hamm shared with ET ahead of the release of Confess, Fletch. "Like, I’m not going to steal those bits -- those are his bits... What we really wanted to do was bring these characters and bring these stories to a completely new generation."

"The one thing we did as a very significant nod to Chevy was keep the Lakers hat," he noted. "We thought that was very funny, that he's walking around Boston very proudly in a Lakers hat... That’s clearly our nod to Chevy."

Hamm told ET that he fell in love with Mcdonald's Fletch book series as a kid, and felt there was room enough for a different cinematic interpretation of the title character.

"I was first of all amazed by how many stories there were, and I was second amazed by how different the books are from the ['80s movies]," the actor shared. "I was like, 'Wait, so that’s what Chevy Chase brings to it'... and that’s awesome, but none of that stuff is in the books."

Hamm described his take on Fletch as "a sophisticated guy, he's funny, he loves life, he loves being in every room that he's in. He thinks he's the smartest guy in the room, but maybe he's top three, five... He thinks he’s right all the time and he’s not."

"That’s where the funny is," he continued. "For our purposes, it was less about wigs and teeth and all of the bits and slapstick '80s jokes, and more about telling a real, fun, compelling whodunit starring this guy at the middle of it."

Confess, Fletch is also bolstered by a killer supporting cast, which includes Marcia Gay Harden, Kyle MacLachlan, Roy Wood Jr., Annie Mumolo and Hamm's old Mad Men co-star and pal, John Slattery.

"Those were some of the first days we shot," Hamm said of his scenes with his former castmate. "That was a very exciting way to start this project, to kind of get something that feels very comfortable."

"Those two characters, they're meant to have had a long history," he added. "That kind of sensibility was easy to play with someone like John, who I do have over a decade of history with, and so it was very easy and it was very fun and I think that does kind of come off the screen -- I think people really do respond to that."

With 10 more books in the Fletch series, Hamm said he does hope to make more film adaptations in the future, but he's keeping plenty busy in the meantime. The actor recently signed on to join season 3 of The Morning Show -- sharing that the set of the Apple TV+ series is "a cool place to be" -- and celebrating the continued success of Top Gun: Maverick.

"It’s the only film to be number one on Memorial Day and number one on Labor Day," Hamm shared proudly of the Tom Cruise starrer. "That’s unprecedented in many ways. It’s one of the only top five [films] that doesn’t have somebody in a cape or on a spaceship. It’s a story about real people, it’s got a lot of emotional resonance, people are really responding to it."

"And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer movie," he added, praising the film's cast and creative team. "It’s so nice to see that happen to that younger generation of actors too, who really get to experience this and build on it and have their career blossom because of it."

Confess, Fletch is set to be released with a limited theatrical run and on demand on Sept. 16, followed by a Showtime premiere on Oct. 28.

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