For Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser, being on television’s most celebrated drama means being able to step away from everyday life and seeing the world from a different perspective. Kartheiser, a real-life minimalist who has sold or given away most of his worldly possessions and is extremely concerned about the environment, plays a backstabbing young advertising executive on AMC’s period drama.
“Anytime we can do something that’s so different than ourselves, it gives you a head start into finding parts of yourself you can explore. That’s the fun part of my job — pretending to be someone I’m not,” Kartheiser recently told Advertising Age. “It’s nice to have things that kind of kick-start you away from yourself, because you’re used to making the choices you always make. At least I am.”
Considering his wealth of acting experience, Kartheiser has surely tapped into many sides of himself. The 33-year-old was doing dozens of commercials a year from a young age and has kept busy in recent years, appearing in seven films in the past two years. “One year I did 65 radio commercials! I made good money when I was a young man doing that sort of thing.”
No matter the role he’s playing, Kartheiser says he’s able to draw upon the human condition all the same. Perhaps that’s why he’s so believable as his polar opposite on Mad Men. “To tell you the truth, our show is about advertising, but it doesn’t matter whether your character is a copywriter or an artist or an agent,” he continued. “We’re human beings and the human experience is universal.”
With the premise of In Time taking place well into the future, where the aging process stops at twenty-five, Niccol was presented with an unusual task of bringing on actors who could play a part beyond their years, he recently explained to the L.A. Times. Most of the actors, he said, “had to have something ancient about them.”
In the film Vincent Kartheiser, who plays Amanda Seyfried's 110 year old father, had the talents Niccol was looking for. “There’s something about him that I just go, ‘Wow, yeah, he can play someone who’s 100 years old. Not everyone can.”
For most of the actors the age difference might pose a challenge, but according to Kartheiser, he didn’t have trouble pulling off the role. “As an actor growing up, you oftentimes have to play characters that are way older than you are.”
After being consumed in the universe of In Time where humans don’t look their age, Niccols explains that even he was starting to see things differently. “It was very strange, because I would be looking in the lens of the camera, and maybe a crew member who was only 40 would pass in front, and I would go - What is that?”
The director also shared who his favorite character of the story. The 105-year-old Henry Hamilton, played by White Collar star Matt Bomer. “He’s immortal, but he wants to die. Your mind can be spent even when your body’s not.”
A role Bomer said he researched by “visiting wealthy retirement communities with some centenarians, just hoping by osmosis something would rub off on me. I got some info from those people, just some life experience and stories.”
Watch a clip from In Time below.