'Mad Men' star Hamm ditches suave for macabre in 'Young Doctor'

Wed Oct 2, 2013 10:36am EDT
 
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By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Jon Hamm's new TV role takes him far from the stylish 1960s Madison Avenue setting of "Mad Men" to a dreary, isolated and bloody hospital in a small Russian village during the 1917 revolution.

The backdrop for "A Young Doctor's Notebook," a four-episode series that makes its U.S. debut on Wednesday on the Ovation cable network, is not a typical one for television, and the show does not fit neatly into a particular genre. Hamm said he liked the project for both of those reasons.

"It's dark, and yet it's quite comic," Hamm told Reuters. "It's fantastical in many ways, and macabre in many ways."

"It's very British," he added. "That's probably the best way to say it. I like that they take risks over there."

"Young Doctor's Notebook" was filmed in London and broadcast in 2012 on British network Sky Arts. Ovation, a cable network available in about 50 million U.S. homes, picked up U.S. rights for the first season.

Hamm, best known for his Emmy-nominated role as the brilliant-yet-troubled ad man Don Draper in "Mad Men," stars as the older version of the doctor, a figure who advises and taunts his younger self, an overwhelmed recent graduate played by "Harry Potter" actor Daniel Radcliffe.

The show is based on a collection of short stories by Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov. Radcliffe and Hamm are both fans of Bulgakov's writing.

In the TV series, the character Hamm plays is addicted to morphine and under investigation by the Soviet secret police. He finds a notebook filled with writings about his experiences 17 years earlier that he uses to narrate the story of his younger self.   Continued...

 
Actor Jon Hamm of the TV drama "Mad Men" arrives at the 19th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California January 27, 2013. REUTERS/Adrees Latif