She’s a precocious 28-year-old English gamine, pale and long-limbed, the daughter of legendary theater director Sir Peter Hall. She spent a few years performing Shakespeare on the London stage, but before long, in 2008, landed a big break with Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona. (She played the uptight one to Scarlett Johansson’s hedonist.) He’s a burly, corn-fed Midwesterner, ruggedly handsome in a Cary Grant sort of way, who arrived in Hollywood at age 24 and labored in the trenches for a decade before earning fame and wealth as a small-screen leading man on Mad Men. Now 39 and in his fourth season as Don Draper, he’s scoring roles in everything from the upcoming Allen Ginsberg indie biopic Howl and next year’s megabudget action flick Sucker Punch to NBC’s 30 Rock. The paths of Rebecca Hall and Jon Hamm converge in the September film The Town, a morally complex cops-and-robbers drama set in director Ben Affleck’s hometown of Boston. Hall plays a bank manager who is traumatized by seeing a colleague brutally beaten by a masked thief. When she meets a handsome man, played by Affleck, who offers her comfort, protection and romance, she has no way of knowing that he was the violent offender’s accomplice. Hamm is less charmed: He plays the man in blue, hot on Affleck’s trail. The two actors recently sat down with W at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles.
W: Did you both have to audition for The Town?
Jon Hamm: I was on a list of people that the studio was considering. They go down the list, basically.
Rebecca Hall: I don’t think I was on a list. I auditioned. My agent flew me to New York because I couldn’t afford to pay the airfare, and then if I got it, I’d pay her back. I met Ben in some hotel room and we chatted for about two hours. I didn’t hear anything for about three months, and then I got the call.
Hamm: Do you know who else they asked to do it?
Hall: No. Do you?
Hall: Spill the beans. Jessica Simpson?
Hamm: I was going to say Lindsay Lohan, but that’s not really funny anymore. It’s sort of sad.
W: Rebecca, your audition for Vicky Cristina Barcelona consisted of Woody Allen making sure you could do an American accent. The Town is set in Boston—is your accent Bostonian?
Hall: No. It’s general American, because I’m meant to be a yuppie from Marblehead who’s moved into a rough area. Her accent has little bits of Boston and little bits of “I’m tough.” I was determined to make her quite streetwise and savvy and strong. I was nervous about portraying the woman who gets subjected to violence and then becomes the love interest, victimized and fragile, of a protective man.