Matt Weiner Interview, Part 6

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Matt:  I will say that I have a very rich fantasy life but the truth is that I met someone and I’ve never sought love from anyone else.  Because the truth is, I would never believe that anyone could love me.  It took me three years of marriage to believe that my wife loved me. 

I have four children.  And I feel guilty all the time that I’m not soaking it up enough and I’m not enjoying it enough.  But the truth is:  all of those desires that don’t go away when you get married.  Which is part of what I was struggling with. 

Why am I still feeling this way!! 

There’s a book called Exit the Rainmaker.  My mother had it on vacation.  It’s about some guy from Silver Spring Maryland and he got into a community theatre play where he got to play the Rainmaker.  And he loved it.  And he taught at a college.  I think he was a guidance counselor.  And one day he just packed up and drove away.  

And two years later he ended up teaching at a community college with the exact same life w/ another family.  But what was interesting about it was he left this card that said “exit the rainmaker.”  That was his note to his wife.  That’s IT. 

So how do men do that?  And I thought, “I could do that.”  I am capable of doing that.  What is that that lives inside me.

Mary:  Did that scare you?

Matt:  Yeah!  It terrified me.  It made me think that I was a horrible person.  But I have made a living off of saying things that are SO embarrassing, admitting things about myself that are so awful, and then having strangers come up to me and say, “I feel the same way.”  That’s been a gift because you don’t feel as alone.  There are a lot of people who say, “that’s baloney.  I’ve never felt that.” 

They’re irrational, crazy thoughts.  Like – anyone who has ever had a child and been cooking and with your first child especially and you have this obsessive thought suddenly, what happens if I suddenly slip and accidentally stab my child with this knife?  Whatever you do, do not slip!  Do not stab the child!  Do not kill your kid!  And you’re going through this thing in your head like you’re a mad person and I’ve said this to other people and they’re like, “I’ve had that thought!”  They’re obsessive compulsive, don’t-ever-let-anything-happen-to-my-child thoughts. 

Mary:  Clearly you’re using all this as material and Draper is the person…

Matt:  The truth is: I identify with Peggy.  Because I’m always trying to do the right thing.  I’m always trying to get someone to tell me what the right thing to do is.

Mary:  They’re all different parts of you…

Matt: Yes! 

Mary:  That thing that made the Rainmaker just walk away.  That is in Draper.  Isn’t that in Draper?

Matt:  Yes, it is.  It’s in every man.  I do believe that.  And that’s what I’ve been trying to say about being asked.  No one’s asked me about that yet.  You’re the first person to ask me that question.  And I’ve given 25 to thirty interviews.  And no one has asked me how I’m related to this man.  Which I find both protective of my privacy but also strange.

Mary:  I was kind of surprised that it didn’t come up in the session but then I thought, I’m not going to ask it in public.

Matt: There were a lot smart questions in that panel.

Mary: You could tell the room liked the series.  They [the critics] had just come out of giving Star Jones a very difficult time.

[laughter by both]

Matt:  Oh my god, that’s so mean!  But it’s so funny that you asked that because no one’s asked that.  When I was in college this was the ugliest thing that men would admit.  This Robert Bly thing…

Mary:  My husband brought up Robert Bly when we were watching the pilot. 

Matt:  I don’t want to say anything shitty about Neil LaBute.  But he was talking about the show. And I look at Neil LaBute’s work and he saw the show and he’s working w/ AMC and he said he might want to write one of the scripts and he’s a famous playwright and I said, “you have to tell him that I don’t actually hate women.”

Mary: Did someone get the idea that you hate women? Because of the sexism.

Matt: I think that he thinks that…I am not a fratboy.  Don is constantly judging these people.

Mary:  I mean, because of the sexism of the era?

Matt:  The sexism is like…what I love about those guys is: they are trying to act like men!  They’re bursting w/ this anxiety of trying to act like a guy.  When Paul says that thing to Peggy about being a copywriter?  He’s trying to say, you know, you should take an interest in this.  You’re not an average person. 

Mary:  Well, yes, - that was one of the first non-sexist things I had heard..

Matt:  And Don says to her, I’m not your boyfriend, I’m your boss. 
(click here for part 7)

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