Stillwater’s Rich Sommer (Mad Men’s Harry Crane) on the show’s fourth season, lutefisk in L.A., and the perks of riding a cultural wave
Q: At Stillwater High, you formed an improv-comedy troupe, the Stillwater Slush Puppies. Were you a theater geek?
Rich Sommer: I was more of a choir guy than a theater guy.
Q: I’m not sure that’s helping your case.
RS: You’re right. I was an arts geek.
Q: You and Vincent Kartheiser (who plays Pete Campbell) are both Minnesotans. Do you work lutefisk references into the script?
RS: There’s no ad-libbing—ever—with this show. But we certainly talk about Minnesota. My wife is from Mankato, and she remembers seeing Vinnie at the Children’s Theatre Company.
Q: Have you at least introduced the cast to lutefisk?
RS: Frankly, lutefisk isn’t something I’m going to foist upon the people of Los Angeles. Though if you tell them it’s a health food…. Maybe we should start the lutefisk diet, you and me.
Q: Is there anything Minnesotan about Harry Crane?
RS: My Minnesota accent in the early shows kept slipping in, so it was written into the story line that Harry is from Wisconsin. I consider that a close enough tribute to my roots.
Q: I imagine your wardrobe has improved because of Mad Men.
RS: I had zero suits before this show. Now designers contact me and say, “We’d like to give you a suit, which of these three patterns do you like more? Can we come and measure you?” It’s pretty weird.
Q: Can you say anything about season four? Just one word?
The fourth season of Mad Men premieres July 25 on AMC.