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John Slattery Talks 'Mad Men,' 'Arrested Development' And 'In Our Nature'

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JOHN SLATTERY ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT
John Slattery talks "Mad Men," "Arrested Development" and "In Our Nature." | AMC

John Slattery may be busy filming top-secret "Mad Men" and "Arrested Development" episodes, but that doesn't mean one of the biggest names in TV doesn't have time for a movie every now and then.

In honor of his new indie film "In Our Nature," in which he stars as an estranged father who runs into his son (Zach Gilford) at the family's retreat unintentionally (with girlfriends in tow), Slattery sat down with HuffPost TV to discuss working with "Friday Night Light" alum Zach Gilford, his role on "Arrested Development," and watching his wife Talia Basman on "Homeland."

Let's talk "Mad Men." Were you upset you didn't get to go to Hawaii?
I was. I like Hawaii. We were going to show up in Hawaiian shirts and crash it.

Aren't you part of a celebrity surfing club?
Well no, there's no club ... I just like to surf a lot. And occasionally there's a charity thing. There's a celebrity surf event that takes place once a year at a surf break, and there's usually about 200 people surfing at that break. It also raises a lot of money and cleans up the ocean, and that's important. But one of the perks of that is that you get to surf this place by yourself, and that never happens in LA.

Do you watch "Homeland"?
I'm just catching up. In fact, I was up last night watching it ... you can't even watch two at a time. Man, it's intense. I walked in and my wife [Talia Balsam] was in bed and I said, "Jesus, this show's going to give me a heart attack." You don't want to watch yourself, and it's so intense. It's so good. You know who doesn't get enough attention for that show? Mandy Patinkin. He's the shit. Claire Danes is great. And Damian [Lewis] is great. He's a friend, but Mandy Patinkin ... I know he's a stage and musical legend, but every time he's on screen he's so captivating. He's great.

How about "Arrested Development?"
You know, I don't really know anything. Since I was on, which was brief, they've probably reconceived the whole thing. Mitch Hurwitz is kind of writing it on the fly, and his brain is amazing. They're releasing all of them at the same time, so it isn't like a normal television show. He's a brilliant guy.

I've shot [my episode] and it was really fun. I almost didn't to it because it's hard to go in and be a guest on someone else's show. I don't think people are aware of that when they see television shows and people on them. It's like walking into someone else's house where they all know what they're doing. They're all extremely funny. I mean, Jason Bateman ... who's better than that guy? Or Jeffrey Tambor, who I work with. All those people. Will [Arnett], David Cross and all the women. You go, "I know this is funny, but I'm not sure I can pull it off ..." So it was nerve-wracking. I don't know whether I succeeded. By the end, I think we nailed a couple scenes. One in particular I hope doesn't get cut. You really see how good everyone is when you go into someone else's situation and watch them work. It was really fun.

Do you think the additional fourth season will be a success?
You know, it's just so good. You can't keep people like that down. With writing like that and people who are that good and it's the same group of people and the same dynamic, I wouldn't bet against it.

What was it like working together on your new film "In Our Nature?"
John Slattery: It was just easy. We just went and did a scene and then got a beer.
Zach Gilford: It was definitely fun, though. Were in the middle of nowhere practically, and we had adjoining rooms in our hotel. We'd be in our room for like 10 minutes and then ask each other to hang out.
Slattery: There's not a hell of a lot to do where we were shooting, either. There was one bar!
Gilford: We'd see each other at the gym, because everyone had the same time off. We couldn't avoid each other.
Slattery: It's like any location. If it's remote at all, it's a contained little world. You're on set or you're at the hotel, and you're at the mercy of that situation, and hopefully you get a situation that was as easy as this one was. You just shoot the shit, have a beer and then do it again the next day.

How long were you shooting for?
Gilford: Four weeks. It was quick.
Slattery: I had the advantage of living in New York City.
Gilford: And you had a car.
Slattery: And I had a car! Most of these guys live in LA, so I drove home to see my family. Sometimes you want to get out and break, but it wasn't because of these guys.

Zach, do you play the guitar in real life?
Gilford: No. [Laughs.]
Slattery: Can't you tell?!
Gilford: Well, I taught myself how to play in high school, and after high school, I never really picked it up again. Then when I was going in for this movie and they asked if I could play guitar I said, "Yeah, sure."

Well every guy has to play guitar, right? It's cool.
Gilford: Yeah, it makes you cool! If they picked a song that had more chords I could have done it, but instead they picked this song with tons of finger-picking.
Slattery: And you always say yes. That's the first thing you say, right? "Can you play trumpet?" "Sure!"

Trumpet could be a little risky.
Gilford: Trumpet could be easier to fake though. They just put their mouth on there and blow, right?
Slattery: You're always doing something that you don't do, and then [being in a movie] teaches you how to do it.

"In Our Nature is out in theaters on Fri., Dec. 7.

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