You probably know Jon Hamm as the dapper Don Draper of “Mad Men.” In recent years he played a globally savvy baseball scout in Atlanta-filmed “Million Dollar Arm” and a suburban spy in locally filmed “Keeping Up With the Joneses.”
Up next he’s part of a heist gang in “Baby Driver,” which also filmed here and is due out June 28.
One role you might not be as familiar with: daycare teacher.
“I was always into trying to be an educator,” said Hamm, who majored in English at the University of Missouri. “When I was in college I taught daycare. I knew how important that is to early childhood development. There aren’t a lot of men in that profession, which is too bad.”
Hamm had a knack for connecting with kids but decided to try the acting thing instead, and that seems to have worked out. The Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actor is due back in Atlanta soon to film “Tag,” a comedy with Rashida Jones, Jeremy Renner, Ed Helms and Hannibal Buress.
For now he’s excited about “Baby Driver.”
“The movie is kind of like an action musical. Edgar (Wright) is a very specific filmmaker and a really talented one,” he said of the movie’s writer, director and executive producer during an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He made a really unique piece of art. It’s so uniquely, originally presented.”
The movie stars Ansel Elgort in the title role as a getaway driver for a crime boss played by Kevin Spacey. Hamm, Jamie Foxx and Eiza Gonzalez round out the bank-robbing crew and Lily James plays Baby’s sweet girlfriend.
Here’s the trailer:
Baby suffers from tinnitus and keeps earbuds in at all times to drown own the ringing. The soundtrack that propels his death-defying driving also propels the narrative.
“It’s a little like composing a symphony on the fly,” Hamm said of the action scenes, where squealing wheels keep time to the pounding beat of Baby’s playlist. “You have all these moving parts.”
The movie filmed around the corner from the AJC (nice of them!) so we checked out the action as it was happening.
The paper also appears in a cameo. The movie is set in Atlanta, so it was appropriate to feature an AJC headline about the rash of bank heists.
Hamm has enjoyed spending time in Atlanta while filming here.
“There’s so much fun stuff to do in Atlanta, not the least of which is eating,” said Hamm, who lived in Midtown during “Million Dollar Arm,” in Buckhead during “Joneses” and in Inman Park while filming “Baby Driver.”
“I’ve had nothing but nice interactions with the locals,” he said. “Everyone’s super friendly.”
Which brings us back to his former gig teaching kids. How does wrangling a herd of small fry, we wondered, prepare someone for life as an actor?
“There are strong personalities” in both settings, he chuckled. “Working with kids is energizing.”
Hamm is an avid supporter of his high school alma mater, raising funds for the theater program and endowing a scholarship in memory of his mother.
“I remembered how much my high school meant to me,” he said. “My high school was a really resoundingly important place for me in my life. What I wanted to be able to do was give back.”