Thursday, May 27, 2010

7680: Going Up With Hollis.

Ever wanted to learn more about the actor who portrays Hollis the elevator attendant on AMC series Mad Men? Of course not. But here’s an interview with the man anyway.

Q&A — La Monde Byrd

La Monde Byrd, who plays Hollis the elevator attendant in the building that houses Sterling Cooper, spoke to about his favorite scene and his character’s snazzy uniform.

Q: Do you get claustrophobic performing in an elevator?
A: I don’t. I don’t look at it as La Monde inside the elevator. It’s just what [Hollis] does every day.

Q: Is it even a real elevator?
A: Nope, it’s not a real elevator. It’s a small space but it’s not a functional elevator.

Q: You have some memorable exchanges with a number of Sterling Cooper employees. What would you say is your favorite exchange?
A: In season three, that scene with Pete Campbell and Hollis, that was really a rich scene for me. The audience was able to take a look at how Hollis really feels. A lot of times you see how Hollis is being somewhat subdued or very patient and calm. But with that scene, we actually saw Hollis put his guard down and kind of come straight with what he really thinks. We saw a break in the armor, and it was just an honest moment.

Q: Is there an art to being a bystander to other people’s conversations?
A: I think you definitely have to maintain presence, i.e. maintain focus, because even though you’re not speaking or there’s one or two words that Hollis says, he’s still present in the scene. Even if it’s just a look away or the way that he responds or says “tenth floor,” everything that’s happening around him is still affecting him as a person. I think the main thing is to stay present and to listen. Listening is a big part of Hollis’ job.

Q: You wear a suit in all your scenes.
A: I’m wearing that suit, and dang, they got these buttons, these really slick buttons. I don’t know if you can see it on the television, but these buttons are classic. They’re like the classiest buttons I’ve ever seen in my life.

Q: You’ve produced and written films and you got your MFA from the American Film Institute. Is there anything you’ve learned from working on Mad Men that’s helped your film career?
A: I’d be a fool if I didn’t learn. Every time I’m on the set I’m watching, I’m learning. I’ve had the great opportunity to sit in on all of the table reads for the episodes I’ve been a part of. One thing that I always try to pay attention to is the writing, and hearing the actors breathe life into it. I’m always listening.

Hat tip to Kiss My Black Ads

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He behaves no different than the black elevator clerks of 2010, quiet, soft and doing the masters biddings. It's so scary that still the roles and attitudes of what whites and blacks do in advertising have never changed. At least in madmens time they didnt sugarcoat it.