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Considering he trained in improv comedy after graduating from college, Rich Sommer is always up for a good prank.
So when a scheduling snafu caused this reporter to miss an interview with him about his new flick, The Giant Mechanical Man, which premiered today at the Tribeca Film Festival, the Mad Men star couldn't resist leaving a hilarious cell phone message conducting an interview with…himself.
So what was on his mind?
After jokingly asking himself if anything was going on behind the scenes with costars Jenna Fischer and Malin Akerman, the latter of whom plays his onscreen wife, the 32-year-old thesp denied any hanky-panky.
"Oh man, I was really enjoying myself. I was just sitting there; I thought it would be fun to do the interview I wish was happening. Where someone was like, 'I know you were screwing Malin Akerman,' and I go, 'Why are you saying that?!' It was kinda fun,'" he told E! News when we caught up with him a few hours later on the red carpet. "I just thought this was a rare opportunity to f—k around with someone's voicemail."
All jokes aside, the thesp discussed his big-screen role in The Giant Mechanical Man, a sweet romance about a zoo worker named Janice (Fischer) who, when life gets her down, meets the man of her dreams (Chris Messina)—who happens to be one of those silent street performers that stand around all day like statues.
Sommer plays Brian, the husband of Janice's sister, Jill, who wants her to date Doug, a self-absorbed motivational speaker played by Topher Grace. But the film very much explores the pointlessness of workaday lives—a theme Sommer could identify with despite playing an ad man on TV.
"I was a temp for the three years I lived in New York trying to be an actor, and it can really destroy your soul if it's the wrong job. Now some people love going to the office. I get it. It's what they like to do," says the baby-faced thesp. "But there are those of us who have a different idea how to make an impact on their surroundings, and for Janice and Chris Messina's character it's not working in an office, and for me, it's the same."
Speaking of offices, Rich is happy to be reprising his part as Sterling Cooper's pushover Head of Media, Harry Crane, on AMC's Mad Men and is looking forward to what creator Matthew Weiner has up his sleeve this season, the Emmy-winning drama's fifth.
"The writers were really great with Harry this year," he tells E! News. "They were super generous. As always, they have him sticking his foot deeply in his mouth, and I'm really excited to get the rest of this season out there."
As for whether viewers might see the return of Harry's old colleagues from seasons 1 through 3, most notably Sal and Paul, the actor said that's up to Mad Men's brain trust.
"Nobody's dead," he noted. "Matt always said to them the day when they were let go, 'You know you're not Sopranos, you're not in a trunk, so you never know.' I hope so. I love those guys. I would love them back."
When he's not dreaming of playing Tevye in a future production of Fiddler on the Roof (after taking "six years of singing lessons," he quipped), Sommer is also trying his luck on the Great White Way, costarring opposite The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons in a Broadway revival of the classic 1945 play Harvey.
"I'm not picky. I just want to keep working," he says.
We're pretty sure that won't be a problem.