January Jones talks 'Sweetwater' and movie violence
05:00 AM, Jan 29, 2013
PARK CITY, Utah One of the most famous moments in TV’s Mad Men series features Betty Draper (January Jones) grabbing a pellet gun and skillfully shooting her suburban neighbors’ pigeons.
“That is such an iconic scene. I loved being able to do that,” says Jones. “That was my Clint Eastwood moment, well before this anyway.”
The “this” Jones refers to is her starring role in Sweetwater, which premieres at the Sundance Film Festival.
Jones plays a newlywed in the Old West taking revenge against a diabolical community preacher (Jason Isaacs). The film is directed by identical twins Logan and Noah Miller who lured Jones to the role with an unusual plot twist a woman forced into gun-slinging. Highly effective gun-slinging.
“I took it as a huge compliment that they trusted me with a very difficult character,” says Jones. “It’s the kind of strong character I have never even seen before.”
Jones, who just turned 35, shows she can handle most every variety of gun from the period in the combustive final showdown. She even calmly shoots a pistol with her left hand and right hand.
“I don’t know if people will even notice that,” says Jones. “But I am ambidextrous which I thought was pretty cool.”
It comes naturally from the Great Plains native.
“I’m comfortable with guns because I grew up with them,” she says. “I grew up in South Dakota where you are hunting for sport or food. When I was a kid a lot of times the pheasants my dad (shot) were for supper.”
In the wake of December’s shooting in Newtown, Conn, Jones advocates a need for control for the more extreme forms of legal firearms.
“I certainly don’t feel machines of war need to be in our homes or available to us. I definitely feel we need new laws and new rules for that.”
But in terms of gun violence in films perhaps promoting violence in real life, she is unsure.
“I am (able to tell it’s entertainment), but other people are not. And that’s the conflict,” says Jones. “It’s something we have to change in media and films maybe. It’s a tough one for me to answer since I’m promoting a film where I (commit gun violence). I don’t know. I cannot judge my character’s actions.”
She also contends Sweetwater shows a realistic view of how things were in the Old West.
“Very brutal things were happening. It was a very lawless time.”
The role is receiving big buzz in Sundance, and Jones shows she can manage the action role with her already famously cool demeanor. She hopes casting directors take notice.
“I want to be given the opportunity to do lots of different things,” she says. “It (Hollywood) can be a town where I feel people have very little imagination.”
Jones will be back in her familiar role as Draper in season six of Mad Men, which resumes in April. She will not reveal spoilers for super-secretive creator Matthew Weiner’s next moves.
“But I love going back to Betty. And Betty changes every season too,” says Jones. “I can’t say how she’s different. But the greatest thing about Matthew’s writing is he’s constantly evolving these characters.”