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Jon Hamm Taking His Talents Behind the Camera for 'Mad Men' Premiere Episode

Jon hamm as don draper_crop

As a young, aspiring actor, it is always fascinating for me to see the transformation that takes place within the television industry when well-known TV actors successfully make the transition behind the camera to direct episodes themselves. Many experienced actors, who have seen the rigors of production while working on set over multiple television seasons, want to put their efforts into the creation of these same projects.

Mad Men star Jon Hamm is the latest actor to step behind the camera, as TVLine reports today that Hamm will direct the season five premiere episode of AMC's Emmy-winning drama series. Production is scheduled to begin in August.

"It’s a very exciting challenge that I’m looking forward to with a mixture of utter fear and excitement," Hamm told TVLine, adding, "It helps to have people you know and trust surrounding you. We’ve been fortunate enough to have very little turnover not only in our cast but in our crew." John Slattery, who co-stars with Hamm on the show, directed two episodes last year for Mad Men's fourth season.

TV stars like Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men), Jensen Ackles (Supernatural), Zachary Levi (Chuck), Tom Welling (Smallville), David Boreanaz (Bones), and Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) have all taken turns as director for at least one episode of the shows in which they act. (And NPH's HIMYM co-star, Josh Radnor, recently wrote and directed his first feature film, Happythankyoumoreplease, which he also starred in.) Actor Richard Schiff made his debut as a director with "Talking Points," a season five episode of The West Wing; he has since gone on to also direct an episode of HBO’s In Treatment. And check out Back Stage's video interview with Matthew Gray Gubler, an actor who has directed himself and his co-stars for episodes of Criminal Minds.

Another comedic actor whose career launched from TV to writing, producing, and starring in feature films is Adam Sandler. Sandler created his own company, Happy Madison Productions, which has produced numerous films and developed the CBS sitcom Rules of Engagement. Sandler has written and produced most of the films he has acted in, and is known today as a well-rounded actor, comedian, musician, songwriter, screenwriter, and film producer, since his beginning as a stand-up and sketch comedian. This is another good example of a TV actor who has completely transformed into a media mogul.

Years of on-camera experience can help ease an actor's transition behind the camera, because being surrounded by the crew, director, producer, and other actors on set can give them a taste of the hands-on experience they need to take a seat behind the camera. This talent is another important way for working actors to express themselves, and continually show viewers how talented they really are.

-- Jake Robbins

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