W: And your mother is an opera singer. Is she a diva?
Hall: She’s incredibly glamorous. She wouldn’t walk into the kitchen in the morning without red lipstick.
W: When did you both realize you wanted to perform?
Hall: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be an actor. It has just always been an inevitability on some level.
Hamm: I played Winnie-the-Pooh in first grade. I was an early adopter of standing up in front of people and looking like an idiot. In high school I was a middle linebacker and I played Judas in Godspell.
W: After you joined the William Morris Agency, you didn’t work for three years.
Hamm: I went up for everything. I’d get down to the end on big movies and then I’d flame out, which is devastating. It just sucks, especially when it’s fraught with, “Oh, then I can pay my bills.” I would get so in my head that I would f--- up the auditions.
W: How long were you willing to stick it out?
Hamm: I had given myself five years to be self-sufficient as an actor. I was already self-sufficient as a waiter. But I knew a lot of 40-year-old waiters and I didn’t want to be one of those. I had taught school and I knew that I could always go back to teaching. I gave myself to my 30th birthday, and my 30th birthday actually happened on the set of We Were Soldiers, which was my first big Hollywood movie—a Mel Gibson vehicle. I was making enough money to quit my waiting job.
W: Is there value to trudging the long road as opposed to getting a fast track?
Hamm: I guess the benefits of my trajectory were learning humility, learning to be patient and learning how the system works in some way. But I think the benefits of Rebecca’s path are that you get to spend some great years doing some pretty cool s---. Your 20s are fun. If you can manage to also do good work, which Rebecca clearly has, then you’re very lucky. [Looking at her] Is that dumb?
Hall: It’s a wee bit reductive, but I’ll go with it. The irony is that I’ve never really been an ingenue. Even though I’ve been working since I was eight, I stopped for a long time and started working again when I was 20. I’ve always played parts that are 28, 29, 30 years old.
Hamm: You’ve got the tall-girl parts. In this movie, Rebecca got to wear high heels because although she’s abnormally tall, so are Ben and I.
Hall: That was the best thing about this film. I’ve never gotten to wear high heels before because I’ve always been taller than every actor that I’ve worked with.