Jon Hamm Thought He'd 'Never' Get Cast in “Mad Men” After Losing Out on “West Wing” Role to Rob Lowe

The actor remembers thinking he "could murder" the role that went to Lowe, White House deputy communications director Sam Seaborn

<p>Getty (2)</p> Jon Hamm (left); Rob Lowe

Getty (2)

Jon Hamm (left); Rob Lowe

Don Draper made Jon Hamm a household name, but the actor wasn't so sure he was going to land the role at the start.

Hamm, 53, described the first Mad Men script he got as "really good," but that immediately led him to believe that "they're never going to cast me."

"I’d had an experience with another really good script that I read and I was like, 'I would do anything to get this part,'" he told The Hollywood Reporter, before revealing that said "really good script" was for The West Wing.

Hamm auditioned for Rob Lowe's part — White House deputy communications director Sam Seaborn — and thought at the time, "I could murder this part."

"And I was great in the audition, but I saw the casting director’s face, and I knew this part’s already cast. Then it was like, 'Oh, it’s Rob Lowe. OK, I get it,'" he recalled. "So I thought the same thing would happen on Mad Men. I’ll give a great audition, and they’ll give it to a movie star."

Related: Jon Hamm Recalls When a Network Executive Told Him He Would 'Never Be a Television Star': 'He's No Longer at the Head'

Over the course of the audition process, he said he "started seeing names that I recognized on the sign-in sheet," alluding to other established actors having wanted the role of the beloved creative director.

Lowe, 60, "never auditioned," Hamm told the outlet, "but he was definitely under consideration."

Mad Men's creator Matthew Weiner didnt want a "superstar," though, so that eliminated him. "If Rob Lowe plays this part, it’ll be the Rob Lowe show, and we don’t want that. We want it to be a mystery about who this guy is,'" Hamm recalled Weiner saying — to his "tremendous benefit."

<p>Michael Yarish/AMC</p> Roger Sterling (John Slattery), Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) in 'Mad Men'

Michael Yarish/AMC

Roger Sterling (John Slattery), Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) in 'Mad Men'

Though Hamm was eager to play Sam Seaborn, and bummed when it went to Lowe, the Parks & Rec star didn't end up having the best experience on Aaron Sorkin's hit political drama.

“I felt very undervalued. It happens in any workplace. You can be in an environment where people sandbag you, wanna see you fail, don’t appreciate you — whatever it is,” Lowe revealed on an episode of Podcrushed last year.

“I did not have a good experience and tried to make it work and tried to make it work and tried to make it work."

Related: Allison Janney Doubts West Wing Reunion Rumors Will Ever Be True — but 'I Always Want It to Be' (Exclusive)

<p>Warner Bros Tv/Kobal/Shutterstock</p> Rob Lowe in 'The West Wing'

Warner Bros Tv/Kobal/Shutterstock

Rob Lowe in 'The West Wing'

Lowe eventually departed The West Wing after four seasons as his sons Matthew, now 30, and John, now 28 — who he shares with wife Sheryl Berkoff — got older and his perspective changed.

"I could see them having first girlfriends or friends and being in a relationship that was abusive and taking it,” he said, comparing his relationship to the show to dating the “popular girl” in school.

“Everybody likes her, she’s beautiful, it must be great — all the things that people would say about making The West Wing to me. ‘It’s so popular, it’s so amazing, it must be amazing,’ but I know what it’s like and if I couldn’t walk away from it then how could I empower my kids to walk away from it?”

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Mad Men is available on AMC+ andThe West Wing is streaming on Max.

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