- Jon Hamm told Insider he made the decision early on to avoid impersonating Chevy Chase as Fletch.
- “It would have really felt like robbery,” Hamm said if he played the character the same way Chase did.
- Hamm also asked if he would ever do a “Mad Men” movie.
Jon Hamm has entertained us with his dramatic and comedic talents for years, but in his latest offering, he uses his skills to try to make us forget about another star actor.
In “Confess, Fletch,” Hamm plays investigative reporter-turned-crime-solver Irwin M. “Fletch” Fletcher, who was beloved in the 1980s when Chevy Chase brought author Gregory Mcdonald’s character to the big screen.
In 1985’s “Fletch” and the 1989 sequel “Fletch Lives”, Chase played Fletch as a wise know-it-all who walked around sticking his nose where he didn’t belong, saying he was all the world of G. Gordon Liddy to Don Corleone as he got to the bottom of schemes with his wit and charm.
Since then, stars like Zach Braff and Jason Sudeikis have been intrigued to reboot the character, but for decades that never came to fruition. Finally, “Superbad” director Greg Mottola and Hamm pulled it off.
“Confess, Fletch,” which opens in theaters and on demand simultaneously Friday, follows Fletch (Hamm) as he travels through Boston and Rome trying to exonerate himself as a murder suspect while investigating who is behind the theft of valuable paintings.
Ever since Hamm hung up his fedora playing Don Draper on the Emmy-winning hit series ‘Mad Men’, he’s become a reliable character actor appearing in ‘Baby Driver’, ‘Richard Jewell’ and more recently. “Top Gun: Maverick.”
This made him the perfect Fletch for the modern age, as he can easily pull off charm and self-mockery, and has perfect comedic timing. Because of these talents, Hamm admitted to Insider that he thought less about Chase’s portrayal while playing the character, believing it would just be “stealing” if he did nothing but stay true to that. that Mcdonald had designed in his books.
Insider chatted with Hamm on Zoom about giving audiences a new fletch, what it was like to watch ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ dominate the summer box office, and why he’s relieved he doesn’t have to know s there will one day be a “Mad Film “Men”.
Finishing any movie is a small miracle, but I imagine bringing Fletch back to the screen must be pretty nice, right?
Absolutely. It’s exciting to have made this trip and to have given people the chance to see it. It’s very different. It’s a reboot, rebranding, reimagining, reintroducing this character to a whole new generation and it’s a fun challenge.
It’s exciting as an actor to put your mark on something so specific.
In the past, you’ve compared playing the Fletch character to doing a cover. Were there times when you had to catch up and say, “That sounds too much like Chevy” and pivot?
Not particularly, because we knew from the script that we weren’t going to make this version of this film. This version already exists.
But I imagine the performance of Chevy Chase is ingrained in your head, like many of us, so there were never times where you felt you leaned too much into the way he played the character. ?
I came to the character much more organically. I was able to get a working idea of who this guy was who was pretty far removed from anything Chevy was doing. We made a conscious decision not to make imitations.
It was all a deep part of Chevy’s comedic sensibility. Taking anything really felt like stealing. We wanted to pay homage to the history of the franchise, obviously, but to really re-examine the original character that Gregory Mcdonald wrote in the books, which is radically different from what Chevy did.
I was thinking about this recently, here you are doing press for your new movie, but just recently over Labor Day weekend, “Top Gun: Maverick”, was No. 1 again in theaters as well as in home entertainment. We get a lot from Jon Hamm!
Yeah, I’m not mad at that. It’s better to wait for the phone to ring.
But all you do is tap now. You just went around the world promoting.[Laughs.] I can see inside very nice hotel rooms.
But obviously the success and outward footprint of “Top Gun: Maverick” has been unique, worthwhile and worthy and we were very happy that the powers that be made the decision to keep this movie and hold it off until the end. end of the pandemic.
But we live in very interesting times in terms of how things are consumed. You said #1 in movie theaters and home entertainment, and it’s the new normal. “Confess, Fletch” comes out day and night and it’s fine. I’m glad people see it the way they want to see it.
It is fascinating to compare the release plans of these two films. If it’s not a sure thing, like “Top Gun: Maverick,” it’s almost, good luck finding an audience. And in the case of “Confess, Fletch,” you blink and it’ll suddenly be on Showtime. What do you think of how people will see your work in the post-COVID era?
I leave that to people who have more control over it to think about how it works.
But if that was your choice, I imagine you’d want people to see “Confess, Fletch” in theaters, right?
Sure. But I just want people to see it. I’m very proud of it and I would like people to see it. I share that view with guys like Steven Soderbergh who are very happy but people are consuming what they’ve worked very hard on. They have worked hard to keep budgets low so they can make money out of them no matter what.
But I’m just excited to work on things that inspire me in some way artistically, and this is definitely one of them. Hopefully with success, whatever that looks like, we can do a few more.
I love your filmography, you’ve done so many different characters and worked in so many different genres, but over the years in your career does the pull of the franchise machine become more appealing in terms of stability in this industry? Or was all those years of doing “Mad Men” enough that you didn’t think like that?
Leading a long-running show comes with its own particular set of exercises and muscles that isn’t franchise-like. I have a lot of friends who are in movie franchises and it’s a very different schedule, a different demand on your time and your family life, and all the other things that a television program can be from a really grueling hour.
But, having said that, some of the best work right now is on television, or whatever is classified on television right now, so as an actor I think you go where the work is. This has always been the case.
I’ve been reading autobiographies lately, I’m reading Anjelica Huston’s right now, she goes where the work is. You have to understand and approach life that way.
Hypothetically, if the script was amazing and they save the dump truck full of cash on your lawn, would you ever consider dusting off the Don Draper character and making a “Mad Men” movie?
I mean, there are a lot of moving parts that need to line up before the money and the script can even be given to me. I would never say never, but that’s a lot of moving parts that need to be synchronized. It’s a very complicated Tetris puzzle that I’m glad I don’t have to line up.
“Confess, Fletch” hits theaters and on-demand simultaneously on Friday. It will be available on Showtime from October 28.