Fresh off her appearance on AskMen’s Top 99 Most Desirable Women 2011, January Jones is building off her successful recurring role on TV’s Mad Men to star alongside Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger and Frank Langella in the action thriller Unknown. Jones plays Neeson’s wife — a devoted companion who seems to lose all memory of her husband when another man takes the place of Neeson’s character.
A clear tribute to Alfred Hitchcock’s films with its themes of list memory, mistaken identity and conspiracy, Unknown begs for the classic filmmaker’s preferred steely blonde to play Neeson’s wife. Jones fills in admirably with her pale blue eyes and deceptive expressions.
Mix that role with her cold scheming as Betty Draper on Mad Men, and the tiny, blue-eyed actress wonders if she needs to take on some lighter roles to change her image. During the press tour for Unknown, the soft-spoken South Dakota native talked about her unlikely status as a big-screen ice-queen.
Are you worried you’ll be typecast as the ice-cold blonde after Mad Men and Unknown?
January Jones : Am I being typecast as a horrible person? I don’t know. I don’t think so. But if it happens, I’d rather get to play that, because there’s nothing fun about being sweet. Sweet can be so boring, so I’d be happy staying away from that. That’s one of the things that really attracted me to Unknown. My character is such a mystery. You never know what she’s about or whose side she’s on. It’s more fun playing something like that.
Are you pleased with how your career is progressing? Are you ambitious to see it continue to grow?
JJ : I’m not ambitious anymore. I’m a jaded Hollywood star now. Seriously, I don’t know if I ever had a plan, but I’m happy with it as it’s gone. In this business, I don’t know how you can have a plan or how you can orchestrate anything. But I’ve been lucky with my choices. I’m very strong-willed, so I’ve been able to stick with it. I’m lucky there.
Unknown is your biggest movie role to date. Are you looking to do more movies now and to get away from TV like Mad Men?
JJ : Mad Men was really my first television role, and it never feels like TV to me. It’s done at such a high level. So no, it’s not a conscious decision to move away from television. Unknown just offered such a great part and an opportunity to work with Liam Neeson.
You’re in the AskMen Top 99. Since you seem to stay pretty soft-spoken and self-effacing, how did you react to that?
JJ : It’s nice. That’s very kind. It’s flattering. But I don’t think I see myself that way. I’m just happy it’s a fan vote, and I appreciate that very much.
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