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John Slattery: ‘I’ve Never Been the Star’

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John Slattery on the cover of GQ (Sebastian Kim/GQ)

John Slattery on the cover of GQ (Sebastian Kim/GQ)

It can't be easy being a man starring in a show alongside Jon Hamm. No matter how handsome or charming you are, it seems it's hard to compete. In another situation, actor John Slattery might have been the resident hunk of "Mad Men," but alas, the 49-year-old silver fox seems oddly resigned to playing second fiddle, and not the type to lose sleep over his career trajectory.

"I don't have to worry about how my movies sell because I'm not the guy in front," he says in the April issue of GQ. "I've never been number one. I've never been the star of the thing."

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Until now. The 25-year acting vet will indeed be "the star" in the upcoming film "In Our Nature," in which he portrays a man who, along with his girlfriend (played by Gabrielle Union), spends a weekend at a vacation home with his estranged son and the son's gal pal. It's a role he might not have gotten had it not been for the fame of "Mad Men," but at the same time, Slattery admits, his breakout TV role as the troubled (an oft-used adjective when describing "Mad Men" characters) ad exec Roger Sterling may have pigeon-holed him a bit.

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Sebastian Kim/GQ

Sebastian Kim/GQ

"You see people from 'Seinfeld' and 'Friends' and whatever, 'Gilligan's Island,' and you go, 'There's Gilligan!' I'm sure there are meetings going on: 'What about Slattery?' 'No, can't use him; he plays that guy on 'Mad Men,'" he explains in the interview. "On the flip side, I've gotten a lot of opportunities I certainly wouldn't have had."

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But there's no escaping "Mad Men" at the present moment. The beloved series is coming back for a fourth season after a whopping 17 months and rabid fans can't wait. And speaking of the delay, Slattery takes the opportunity to set the record straight on the reported "battle" over compensation that took place between the show's brilliant creator, Matt Weiner, and the basic cable network, which many speculated led to the big gap in between seasons.

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Sebastian Kim/GQ

Sebastian Kim/GQ

"It wasn't so much a showdown. That whole thing was a lot of bull***t. AMC was always going to put the show on [this year rather than last year]," Slattery insists. "The press took one story and ran with it, which is that Matt was holding out for a lot of money. And that wasn't really the truth."

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