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Ben Feldman Talks Emmy Nomination For 'Mad Men,' 'Drop Dead Diva' And More

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Ben Feldman talks Emmy nomination,
Ben Feldman talks Emmy nomination, "Mad Men" and "Drop Dead Diva."

The votes are in, and "Mad Men" newcomer Ben Feldman scored an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of the AMC drama's fast-talking Michael Ginsberg in the Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series category.

On Thursday, Feldman took the time to talk to HuffPost TV about his nomination via phone. In addition to gushing about his "Mad Men" co-stars Elisabeth Moss (Peggy Olson) and Jon Hamm (Don Draper), who are also 2012 Emmy nominees, Feldman opened up about whether or not he would be returning to "Drop Dead Diva" and the surprising reason he'd love to work with Al Pacino.

First of all, congratulations! What does this nomination mean for you and your career?
Who knows what it means for my career. This is all new to me! I had a moment today after I was done talking to my family and all of the obligatory people where it occurred to me that there were actually people that voted for me, and that blew me away. That there were people who thought I should even be included on that list is still surreal and strange to me.

The Ginsberg character was such a pleasant surprise. As a longtime "Mad Men" fan, what was it like to be a part of all the secrecy and awesomeness that was Season 5?
It's cool. On one hand it's really exciting. It's like getting into a club that no one else is allowed into. At the same time, for a long time, I couldn't tell anyone I was even on the show. There's so much secrecy involved that I spent a lot of time looking over my shoulder and making sure I didn't say anything wrong. But it's really cool, especially now that I get to talk about it. It was intimidating, scary and amazing.

What was it like to walk into a cast that you'd admired for so long?
They're all incredible. Every single actor on that show is so good, and I've looked up to them since the very first day "Mad Men" aired. I've been a fan of the show since the beginning. I was just blown away that I even got a part. I would have been blown away if I'd played a waiter with no lines in one of the restaurants they went to. So to actually be talking and working on scenes that were important -- at least as far as I was concerned -- was just an unreal experience for me.

So Jared Harris was nominated too.
Thank God. He's so good. He's one of those people when you're on set -- there's a couple of them where you're like, "Wow, that person's amazing," and then there are those people where you're like, "I can't believe I'm standing next to this person they're so brilliant." He's one of those people. I'm not at all surprised!

Obviously one of the big plot points of this season was his suicide. How far in advance did you know about that?
[Laughs.] You know, a couple of the cast members who are regulars were talking about it like a week before that episode started, and I sort of just walked in on their conversation. If it were up to them, I think I would have found out the day of the episode. They were like, "Don't tell anybody, but Jared's killing himself in the next episode." It was so hard not to tell! Everybody I know is a giant fan. There's a line in the very first episode of the season where he's on the phone with a woman and he's like, "I'll be here for the rest of my life!" I was watching with a group of friends and I had to like clench my hands on the couch in order to not give away something huge.

Ginsberg butted heads a lot with Don Draper this season. What was it like going head-to-head with Jon Hamm in those scenes?
When he's in character, he's in character, and there were moments where I was wondering, "Wait, does Jon kind of hate me?" They're sort of one in the same when you're on set shooting. But Jon's a great actor, really intelligent. He directed my first episode, so I felt a little more comfortable by the time we did any acting together. He was a part of my first time on the show, and I was a part of his first time directing. It was definitely scary.

I know you probably don't know much about Season 6 -- and if you do, you probably can't say anything -- but do you feel like Peggy's departure from Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce means there's going to be more room for Ginsberg?
I'm torn, because if I were to come back next season, I should say, it would be beneficial for me to have another copywriter in the office. I'm a huge Lizzie Moss fan. She's an incredible character on the show. Whatever keeps her on the show in the greatest capacity would keep me happiest I think as a fan. Who knows? I don't know anything.

You got to work with a lot of the cast. Who would you say was your favorite scene partner?
I think because the bulk of my stuff was with Elisabeth -- she was in my first scene ever on the show, and then we had that alien moment later in the office -- maybe her? But no favorites, really. I only say [Moss] because I remember the most scenes with her.

It was obvious that you and Elisabeth had great chemistry together.
I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't have good chemistry with Lizzie Moss. She's the greatest person.

So let's talk about "Drop Dead Diva" for a minute. Brooke Elliot was saying that no one's ever really gone for a good on that show. Is there any chance that Fred will make a cameo this season?
I believe Josh [Berman], the creator of the show, mentioned that Fred would be back in some capacity. "Drop Dead Diva" certainly isn't as secretive as "Mad Men" is, but I've learned my lesson and I'm now so paranoid about giving things away after having done a season on "Mad Men" that I will defer to whatever Josh has already said. Anything that's going to happen has already been shot, because they all just came back from Atlanta.

Have you been keeping up with the show this season to see your replacement guardian angel?
I watched a couple episodes at the beginning, and someone alerted me to the fact that he actually writes my character letters, or records videos where he's speaking to my character on the show. That was a bizarre experience, too. I've never met Carter MacIntyre before, who plays the new angel. So I went online and saw all these videos that were him talking directly into the camera to me. So that was a really weird experience, but he was great in those. I didn't watch a lot of "Diva" this season, but I can say he was great in the scenes where he was talking to me. I guess that makes me sound a little narcissistic!

You kind of have a Kevin Bacon thing going on. You've worked with tons of people! Who's your dream co-star?
I think I spent the majority of college doing my Al Pacino impression, which if I wasn't standing in a public area in the middle of Beverly Hills talking on the phone with you right now I would do, but I feel like it would be really cool to work with him because I've spent so much time trying to be him. But once you're in there, on the stage shooting with them, it's always surprising to find out who's absolutely incredible to work with and who's kind of a disappointment. I feel like if I pick someone I could very well end up being wrong, and then I'd eat my words later on if I decided I hated them later on.

Check out our complete list of Emmy nominees here.

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