Mad Men actor Rich Sommer stars in the Massachusetts-based film Fairhaven, playing at the Somerville Theatre through Jan. 17 and on Video on Demand.
He’s real good. When we did The Giant Mechanical Man, we had no scenes together, but I’d go and watch him a little bit. I think he’s an exciting actor—no two takes are ever the same. It feels like you don’t know whether he’s going to hug you or hit you. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time, and the chance to get to share some time with him on-screen is an honor.
Sam and Harry Crane happen to look a lot alike, but other than that I certainly didn’t think about Harry while we were doing Fairhaven, other than I was excited, I’m always excited, to go back to Mad Men. It felt like a very, very different thing to me. Harry is super ambitious, to the point of being sort of blind to how it affects people. Sam is anything but blind to how his life affects the people around him. I think that was a major difference, which I fully appreciated and hopefully was able to latch on to.
Oh, God. If there’s a similarity, I don’t know what it is. Mad Men, while it’s certainly very far from the most expensive show on TV to make, there’s money involved. In Fairhaven, with no disrespect to our producers and backers, of which there were several, it was a different amount of money. And I think Tom O’Brien, who wrote, directed and stars in the movie, would say the same. It was sort of ramshackle the way we were running and gunning. It was truly independent filmmaking, versus filming in L.A., which is generally a studio-backed endeavor. In Fairhaven, we were just doing what we could with what we had. And frankly, I’m very, very proud of Tom for where this movie is and where it started. It’s a really beautiful looking film.
Nothing was 100-percent-from-scratch improvved. We had our script, and we knew what points we had to hit in the script. From there the dialogue was very loosey-goosey. A lot of that dialogue is basically how Tom, Chris and I interact with each other in real life. There was a little bit of ribbing in the original script, but the amount of ribbing that’s in the movie is certainly contributed by the three of us.