Sterling, Cooper, Draper, and Pryce’s Freshest Face

As Joey Baird, Matt Long is a freelance artist working at the year-old agency, Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce. The character is a fresh, square-jawed face for seasoned Mad Men viewers. While his made-for-teen-drama good looks (Long got his start on the WB’s Jack and Bobby) and bedhead struck some as too modern for last week’s season premiere, Long assures us that writer/producer Matt Weiner and his team are as dedicated to historical accuracy as ever. The character’s freelance status also affords him a looser tongue than the agency staff, and last night’s episode allowed him to take on Don Draper’s increasingly booze-o’clock lifestyle.

What was originally a bit part in the first episode has been significantly expanded, and Long says he couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of the best show on television.

BREE MCKENNEY: What was your audition like?

MATT LONG: It was for a part that was originally only going to be in one episode, but still I was terrified. But I walked into the room and John Slattery was there, who I worked with on Jack & Bobby, so instantly there was a friendly vibe. I got to joke around with him and be relaxed and funny, and Matt Weiner got to see that which I think helped because that’s so much of who the character of Joey is.

MCKENNEY: What information were you given about your character when you were cast?

LONG: I knew his name was Joey. That’s it. I showed up for the audition in a suit, and then when I showed up for the first day of shooting they had me in a sweater vest and checkered pants. My clothes were so wild they said more about character than the script did.

MCKENNEY: The way Joey is styled on the show has gotten a lot of attention after the first episode—especially your haircut.

LONG: I kinda thought the haircut was weird too, what do I know. The stylists assured me it’s what young guys were doing—they copy it down to the product they use in our hair. It’s amazing the kind of research they do—Matt, and all the stylists. Joey Baird’s look is representative of the evolving style in 1964.

MCKENNEY: Other than John Slattery who you were already friends with, what has been your impression of the rest of the cast?

LONG: My first day was the first day of shooting for the season. I only had two lines, which in some way is harder, because I spent all day obsessing over these five words, and I was just constantly psyching myself out. Everyone in the cast couldn’t have done more to make me feel comfortable.  I was so impressed. You would never know it was such a critically acclaimed show – there’s no ego, there’s no attitude, it’s a real team effort and they do everything they can to make you feel like you’re a part of the family.