For a large portion of Mad Men alumni, the character they ended up playing wasn't their first pick—in fact, most of the main cast was gunning for different characters at the outset.
Take the silver fox John Slattery, famed for his sharp-tongued but oh-so suave portrayal of Roger Sterling. Slattery originally auditioned for Don Draper, but when the role went to Jon Hamm, Slattery remained a good sport. "It was apparent from the beginning how annoyingly good he was in that role," he said of Hamm as Don. "I don't think people appreciate how difficult it is to play something as subtle as he does. Trying to communicate so much from a guy who keeps his cards so close to his chest is almost an impossibility." Thankfully for us, we got to see Slattery work his acting chops as the part-time lothario, full-time advertising legend.
January Jones, who played the beautifully broken Betty Draper (later Francis), initially had her fingers crossed for the role of Peggy Olson. "I came in for Peggy twice," Jones once explained to The Hollywood Reporter. "[Weiner] said, 'Well, there's another role, but I don't really know what's going to happen with her.' He didn't have any scenes for me, so he quickly wrote a couple." This mysterious role ended up being Betty, and the rest was history.
Another actress yearning to portray the ambitious (if not slightly stubborn) secretary-turned-ad-woman was none other than Christina Hendricks. Hendricks first wanted to play Peggy, but was reportedly turned away for looking too mature. Instead, she auditioned for Midge, Don's mistress in the early seasons of the series played by Rosemarie DeWitt—and then landed the role she's perhaps most famous for, Joan Holloway Harris.
One thing's for certain regarding Peggy: Weiner knew Elisabeth Moss was the one from the get-go. After Moss auditioned, he was moved to tears.