Jon Hamm is celebrating his 47th today. He grew up in the St. Louis area and attended John Burroughs School, where his prom date was actress Sarah Clarke. After he graduated from the University of Missouri, he taught drama at John Burroughs for a few years; one of his students was Ellie Kemper. In the mid-1990s, he moved to Los Angeles, where he became the first-ever aspiring actor to wait tables while trying to establish himself.
His major part came when he was cast in the role of Burt Ridley on seasons 2 and 3 of Providence in 2000-01. He worked regularly in television for the next several years, and also made appearances in features like Kissing Jessica Stein and We Were Soldiers. Then he got his big break in 2007, when he was cast in the lead role of Don Draper on AMC’s Mad Men. The role brought him eight consecutive nominations for the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama—he won for the show’s final season—as well as a pair of Golden Globes.
Sharon Stone turns 59 today. She is another WTHH subject, so readers eager for a detailed account of her career can go right here. After appearing in a run of, to be honest, mediocre-at-best films in the 1980s, Stone began to emerge as a star in 1990’s Total Recall. Her most famous, or infamous, role was as Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct. That scene that you all have at least heard of would definitely be NSFW, so no video, sorry. Instead, I will remember Stone’s most critically acclaimed performance (Golden Globe winning, Oscar nominated), as Ginger McKenna in Casino.
Elmore Leonard is one of the most iconic novelists of the second half of the twentieth century, so it’s natural that his work would be frequently adapted by Hollywood. However, many adaptations of his work fall short or even worse. The prime problem is that it’s easy to forget that Leonard’s novels and stories aren’t plot driven: the primary focus is on the characters, dialogue and overall attitude. Quentin Tarantino gets this. So does screenwriter Scott Frank and directors Steven Soderbergh and Barry Sonnenfeld. But many times, those adapting his work do not. Hence why of the numerous adaptations of his films, only a few truly succeed.