Jon Hamm, an actor who rose to international acclaim for portraying the enigmatic advertising executive Don Draper in Mad Men, has been a staple in Hollywood since the show first aired in 2007. Known for his deep voice, suave demeanour, and commanding on-screen presence, Hamm’s career trajectory has seen him evolve from the conflicted heart of Madison Avenue to diverse roles on both the big and small screens.
On the other side of the cinematic spectrum, we have Clint Eastwood. Beginning his career with a spate of westerns in the 1960s, particularly Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy, Eastwood quickly cemented himself as one of Hollywood’s leading men. His rugged charm and steely gaze gave way to a successful directorial career, making him a stalwart for over six decades.
Still commanding respect and displaying indefatigable passion at 93, Eastwood’s work ethic is unparalleled. The man has been on the screen for 70 years and has over 40 directing credits on a whole slate of films that span westerns, action films, crime thrillers, musicals, comedies and slow-burning dramas.
In 2020, he directed the neo-western drama Cry Macho and took a leading role. In June 2023, Eastwood officially began production on Juror No 2, which marks his 42nd directorial effort – and his last movie. Meanwhile, Hamm has been in Baby Driver and Top Gun: Maverick and will star in the fifth season of FX’s Fargo.
The worlds of these two industry giants converged with the 2019 drama Richard Jewell. At the film’s world premiere in Los Angeles, Hamm said: “He’s a legend. The guy has worked for 60 years in the movie industry, if not longer. I don’t know what to say about him other than he’s an inspiration and he’s incredibly talented. I loved going to work every day.” Reflecting on the daily workings of the set, Hamm characterised Eastwood’s directorial style as “Pretty loose and active and smart and funny and efficient”.
Richard Jewell presented the harrowing account of a security guard who, during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, discovered a bomb – only to face wrongful accusations of being the perpetrator himself. While Paul Walter Hauser played the titular role, Hamm was part of a brilliant ensemble that included talents like Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates and Olivia Wilde, with the film laying bare the media frenzy and the severe lapses in justice that Jewell faced.
Discussing the impact and relevance of Jewell’s story at the American Film Institute Fest, Hamm said: “He was tried in the media before any of the facts were in. He was wrongfully accused by law enforcement agencies, several law enforcement agencies, that didn’t have their facts correct and (were) operating under agendas that weren’t right”.
Given today’s fast-paced digital age, Hamm voiced concerns over the quick dissemination of misinformation, warning of the potential for similar tragedies “because information travels even faster now.”