TV

Who knows Harry Crane? 8 questions with 'Mad Men's' Rich Sommer

April 10, 2014 at 7:11 AM ET

"Mad Men" fans don't know a ton about Harry Crane, which is fine with Rich Sommer, the actor who plays him. Harry is the head of the ad agency's TV department, he's from Wisconsin, he's a cheating husband, and father of three. Since he's also a bit of a socially awkward pushover, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is probably not the only person in the office who doesn't like Harry. But Harry doesn't seem to care.

"I like that we’ve now gotten to see so many faces to Harry and not just in his behavior but also in his look, certainly," Sommer told TODAY during an interview last week. "I don't know that other than Peggy any single character’s gone through as many evolutions as Harry has. For me, it’s been incredible to play.”

The AMC series won't end for viewers until 2015, but the actors have begun production on the last seven episodes. 

"Mad Men" Season 7 first look: Harry Crane (Rich Sommer), Stan Rizzo (Jay R. Ferguson), Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton) and Michael Ginsberg (Ben Feldman.
Frank Ockenfels / AMC
"Mad Men" Season 7 first look: Harry Crane (Rich Sommer), Stan Rizzo (Jay R. Ferguson), Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton) and Michael Ginsberg (Ben Feldman).

How are you feeling heading into the home stretch of 'Mad Men?'
It's rapidly nearing its end, which is terrifying. For me, this is my first long-term job and it feels like the world is ending in a way. I’ve been trying to savor every bit of it. There’s still plenty of work ahead, but we all know it’s coming quickly. So there’s been a lot of staying at work late and hanging out with each other, which has been nice. So, yes, I definitely am feeling sentimental.

What would you like to take from the set?
I think everybody’s kind of got their eye on certain pieces of the set. But we also are fully aware that we really technically get nothing as far as that goes. But, at least, like a Harry Crane business card or glasses or something like that.

What do you think of Harry’s new look for season 7?
I love it. I was having a conversation the other day with a costumer who told me tales of other people on other shows who have asked to look more attractive. And I said, ‘Well, at least I’ve never asked that!’ I seriously love playing a guy that is appealing in ways that are not universal. I like that he sets people’s jaws on edge at times both visually and verbally.

What has been your favorite Harry look?
As far as what I would maybe wear myself, that was in season 4 when he came in with the sunburn. He was wearing a lot of suit separates at that time and his hair was more like a human being. But as far as what I get to wear, all of season 6 and bleeding into season 7, it has been phenomenal. All those pictures you see, the ascots, the hair, the glasses. I just won’t get to play a character like that again. It’s been awesome.

How do you size up Harry?
I think he’s never really changed. There’s a saying that ‘People don’t change; their circumstances do.’Harry started under a lot of thumbs and as those thumbs were lifted, or he began to sidestep those thumbs, and become his own man in charge of his own department. And then to become someone who’s clearly one of the main revenue generators for the firm, he was put in a position to be the fully realized Harry Crane that he is. And I think that might rub some people the wrong way.

Do you wish we knew more of Harry’s background?
That’s a question that’s hard to answer because I think if you had more information on him, it would be a different TV show. We are slightly invested in Harry, we care about him, we like having him around usually, but he’s not the heartbeat of the story like Don Draper or Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) was.

What are some of your favorite Harry scenes?
My favorite episode for Harry, or for me, was the Hare Krishna episode. Michael Gladis and I have known each other since the pilot. We became close friends very quickly. SoI was personally sad when Paul Kinsey (Michael Gladis) left the show. And having him come back and getting to have so much time with Michael again, it truly felt like a gift from Matt and the writers. Also, eating the White Castles stoned in the car with Don. Or wearing the baby bonnet at the baby shower. The Afghan blanket they covered Mrs. Blankenship with when she died and Harry said, ‘My mother made that.’ They have given me so many unique and strange things.

Is it going to be hard to keep the finale a secret for a year?
That’s sort of a bummer. Half of me wants to know so that I don’t have to wait a year. But half of me just wants them to give me whatever scenes I’m in for the rest of the season, and I don’t want to know anything beyond that. But as we get further in, I do want to know because I’d like to be able to have conversations with the people I have worked with for seven years. It’s going to be a long time to keep the secret but I think it will be worth it.

"Mad Men" returns on Sunday at 10 p.m.


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