One of Elisabeth Moss’ most iconic roles is the courageous Peggy Olson from the AMC period drama Mad Men, but there were other actresses who almost played the character before she got the part. When Mad Men first aired in 2007, most of the cast consisted of unknown actors and actresses, although their profiles have increased considerably due to the show’s popularity. Casting directors Laura Schiff and Carrie Andino helped build a strong cast for Mad Menincluding Elisabeth Moss, who is best known for playing President Jed Bartlet’s daughter Zoey in the west wing when she got a role in the series. While Elisabeth Moss delivered a convincing portrayal of Peggy, she was definitely not the only actress considered for the character.
Peggy’s character arc in Mad Men it’s very fascinating. Inside Mad Men In season one, Peggy started out as an innocent, anxious young woman who starts working at Sterling Cooper as Don Draper’s (Jon Hamm) secretary. As the series progressed, Peggy managed to rise through the ranks as a copywriter, gaining more self-confidence in the process. Her character is a very intriguing and heavily written female role, so it’s not surprising that several actresses were drawn to the role of Peggy.
Surprisingly, some actresses who went on to have their own notable roles in Mad Men auditioned for the role of Peggy first. In an oral history of Mad Men (via TV guide), January Jones, Christina Hendricks and Maggie Siff admitted that they all read for Peggy’s character before finally being cast in their roles on the series. Jones twice auditioned for Don Draper’s new secretary on the advice of her manager, who felt that Betty’s role would be insignificant due to lack of screen time in the Mad Men pilot. However, everyone involved in the casting process, including Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, thought she was better suited for the “super beautiful and super cool” Betty’s role. Weiner even wrote additional scenes for Jones to audition for after hearing her concerns about the role. Although Christina Hendricks initially got Peggy an audition, she realized the role was not right for her and agreed to read for Joan Holloway. As for Maggie Siff, she and her manager decided on the day of her audition for Peggy that she should read to Rachel Menken.
The invisible manElisabeth Moss was the first actress who read to Peggy and made a strong impression on Mad Mencasting directors. Although they decided to see more actresses before making a decision for the role, Moss’ first audition turned out to be the best. Elisabeth Moss gained critical acclaim for this role, earning a string of leading actress nominations in Mad Men. Moss effectively portrays Peggy’s character arc with vulnerability and humor, proving that she was the best fit for the role all along.
While Maggie Siff, January Jones and Christina Hendricks are all talented actresses, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Elisabeth Moss playing Peggy in Mad Men. She brings something special to the role that can’t be replicated, especially in “The Suitcase,” Jon Hamm’s favorite. Mad Men episode. Siff, Jones and Hendricks ended up being perfectly cast in their roles as well. In the end, everyone in Mad Men ensemble got roles that played to their strengths and suited them well.