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Seven strangers, each with a secret, stay at the same hotel in the thriller "Bad Times at the El Royale." USA TODAY

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You are not imagining things. That is Jon Hamm fully turned out in 1960s-era attire for "Bad Times at the El Royale," the first time he has revisited the era since his career-defining, Emmy-winning role as Don Draper in AMC's "Mad Men."

But Hamm is a long way from Madison Avenue (and Draper's exquisite wardrobe) as traveling salesman Laramie Seymour Sullivan, who checks into the once-glamorous El Royale resort. Sullivan's loud demeanor and louder plaid suit jacket are so out there that Hamm knew it was a big step from his famous character: "It was like, 'I think we can work with this.' " 

Hamm talks to USA TODAY about his stay at the "El Royale" (in theaters Oct. 12), the best Batman, what's not wrong with baseball and everything he could say about his role in "Top Gun: Maverick."

Question: So what did you say when they called about this "El Royale" part, which meant revisiting the "Mad Men" era?

Jon Hamm: Obviously, I’m hyperaware of the awareness that comes with being me in a '60s period piece. I’ve lost roles because of that. I’ve talked people out of casting me in roles. It’s too reminiscent. You don’t want that thing. But this is so different, Sullivan's so flamboyant. He’s so not Don Draper.

Q: That 'El Royale' set is so elaborate. Were there real ice machines?

Hamm: There were no ice machines, but there were definitely beds and Bibles, that’s for sure. I could have slept there. In fact, it probably would have been better to sleep there. It’s definitely the biggest set I’ve ever been on. I've had that immersive feel certainly on "Mad Men," when you walk through the office and all the papers and all the minutiae are period-accurate. It really does help. It help forms the way the movie looks and the way it feels being there.

Q: I have to go to Batman, because the idea is so out there about you being in line as the next Caped Crusader.

Hamm: It’s on social media, but it’s not really a thing. You know that, right?

Q: There are no actual discussions going on with movie studios. But you've been anointed by social media. Have you started amping up the workouts?

Hamm: I have to keep working out anyway because being 47 (is hard). I’m trying to keep up with everybody named Chris. 

Q: Then settle the global debate. Who's the best Chris: Pratt, Hemsworth or Evans?

Hamm: The one that’s in my movie, Chris Hemsworth. I’ve met him in passing, he got in as I was leaving. But he’s a lovely guy. Most of my experiences with Chrises have been fantastic, in their own way.

Q: Fair enough. Best movie Batman?

Hamm: Probably Michael Keaton in 1989's "Batman." I was familiar with the 1960s television show with Adam West and the comics. I read them a lot as a kid. But the Tim Burton "Batman," the first one, had such a cool-yet-campy, fun dark energy. I appreciated it when they brought in (Christian) Bale, and when they brought in (Ben) Affleck, they kind of turned the series a little bit. There’s a reason that story and that character still continues to entertain and enthrall audiences in kind of the same way that James Bond does. I’m sure whatever they do next will be really cool.

Q: Can you give an idea of how intense the security is around "Top Gun: Maverick" secrets?

Hamm: You are handed the script in an envelope. And the person who hands it to you sit and waits until you have finished the script, and then you give it back. It’s very hush-hush, as it should be. It’s very exciting. Who doesn’t want to see Maverick back in the seat?

Q: Can you just tell us your character's name?

Hamm: No, I cannot. But it is a cool name.

Q: How big a deal was "Top Gun" to 15-year-old Jon Hamm?

Hamm: That movie held such an incredible place in my life when it came out. I saw it over and over – Maverick, Goose, Iceman, Viper and all the cool names. Everything about it was so cool, and Tom Cruise just looked great with that smile and these great sunglasses. I spent all of my lawn-mowing money on a $49 pair of aviator sunglasses. As soon as you pull out those glasses, Kenny Loggins starts wailing and you’re in the Danger Zone. That’s all you hear, the soundtrack in your head. 

Q: There's an ongoing discussion about speeding up the pace of Major League Baseball or making changes. As the world's biggest St. Louis Cardinals' fan, what should be done?

Hamm: First of all, it’s not broken. The last three World Series were the most exciting I have seen in some time. The product they are putting out is pretty great. In terms of pace, if you want baseball to be basketball, you should watch basketball. For me, the exciting part of baseball is the pastoral part of it.

There is no better evening than going to a baseball game. Sitting and eating peanuts and watching baseball to me is about as pure an expression of American delight as I can possibly experience. I’ve taken people from other countries. They have many questions. They're fascinated.

Q: Does that have anything to do with being at a baseball game with Jon Hamm?

Hamm: There’s that, too. I’m a very good person to watch baseball with.

Q: So no changes?

Hamm: I would get rid of the designated hitter. The DH is an abomination. Other than that, baseball is fine.

Exclusive photos from fall's must-see movies

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Ryan Gosling stars as space pioneer Neil Armstrong in Damien Chazelle's "First Man" (in theaters Oct. 12), focusing on NASA’s 1969 mission to put a man on the moon. It's one of many big movies landing in cinemas this fall.
Ryan Gosling stars as space pioneer Neil Armstrong in Damien Chazelle's "First Man" (in theaters Oct. 12), focusing on NASA’s 1969 mission to put a man on the moon. It's one of many big movies landing in cinemas this fall. DANIEL McFADDEN
Bonnie Aarons stars as a demonic woman of the cloth in "The Nun" (Sept. 7), the latest spinoff of the popular "The Conjuring" horror franchise.
Bonnie Aarons stars as a demonic woman of the cloth in "The Nun" (Sept. 7), the latest spinoff of the popular "The Conjuring" horror franchise. COS AELENEI
After waking up from a coma, a woman (Jennifer Garner) turns vigilante to avenge her murdered husband and daughter in the action film "Peppermint" (Sept. 7).
After waking up from a coma, a woman (Jennifer Garner) turns vigilante to avenge her murdered husband and daughter in the action film "Peppermint" (Sept. 7). TONY RIVETTI/STX FILMS
Sierra (Shannon Purser) and best friend Dan (RJ Cyler) get involved in a modern Cyrano de Bergerac situation in the Netflix comedy "Sierra Burgess Is a Loser" (Sept. 7).
Sierra (Shannon Purser) and best friend Dan (RJ Cyler) get involved in a modern Cyrano de Bergerac situation in the Netflix comedy "Sierra Burgess Is a Loser" (Sept. 7). NETFLIX
Julianne Moore stars as a famous opera singer who travels to South America to perform at the birthday party of a Japanese industrialist in the dramatic love story "Bel Canto" (Sept. 14).
Julianne Moore stars as a famous opera singer who travels to South America to perform at the birthday party of a Japanese industrialist in the dramatic love story "Bel Canto" (Sept. 14). SCREEN MEDIA
Emma Thompson (with Stanley Tucci) plays a judge who has a life-or-death decision to hand down involving a teenager in "The Children Act" (Sept. 14).
Emma Thompson (with Stanley Tucci) plays a judge who has a life-or-death decision to hand down involving a teenager in "The Children Act" (Sept. 14). A24
A middle-aged businessman (Ben Mendelsohn, with Thomas Mann) tries to recover from a rash of bad life choices in the drama "The Land of Steady Habits" (Sept. 14).
A middle-aged businessman (Ben Mendelsohn, with Thomas Mann) tries to recover from a rash of bad life choices in the drama "The Land of Steady Habits" (Sept. 14). ALISON ROSA
Housemaid Bridget Sullivan (Kristen Stewart, left) strikes up an intimate friendship with Lizzie Borden (Chloe Sevigny) in "Lizzie" (Sept. 14), based on the 1892 murders of the Borden family.
Housemaid Bridget Sullivan (Kristen Stewart, left) strikes up an intimate friendship with Lizzie Borden (Chloe Sevigny) in "Lizzie" (Sept. 14), based on the 1892 murders of the Borden family. ELIZA MORSE
The vengeful fire of Red (Nicolas Cage) burns bright after tragedy strikes in the horror fantasy "Mandy" (Sept. 14).
The vengeful fire of Red (Nicolas Cage) burns bright after tragedy strikes in the horror fantasy "Mandy" (Sept. 14). SPECTREVISION
As ugly as they are lethal, the nasty alien hunters from the 1980s sci-fi films return to Earth in "The Predator" (Sept. 14).
As ugly as they are lethal, the nasty alien hunters from the 1980s sci-fi films return to Earth in "The Predator" (Sept. 14). ROBERT FALCONER
Anna Kendrick stars as a small-town mommy blogger who investigates the disappearance of her wealthy best friend in the mystery "A Simple Favor" (Sept. 14).
Anna Kendrick stars as a small-town mommy blogger who investigates the disappearance of her wealthy best friend in the mystery "A Simple Favor" (Sept. 14). PETER IOVINO
Richie Merritt stars as a teenage FBI informant and
Richie Merritt stars as a teenage FBI informant and Matthew McConaughey is his father in the crime drama "White Boy Rick" (Sept. 14). SCOTT GARFIELD
Lily (Odessa Young, left), Bex (Hari Nef), Em (Abra) and Sarah (Suki Waterhouse) are youngsters who have to survive the night when their town descends into madness in "Assassination Nation" (Sept. 21).
Lily (Odessa Young, left), Bex (Hari Nef), Em (Abra) and Sarah (Suki Waterhouse) are youngsters who have to survive the night when their town descends into madness in "Assassination Nation" (Sept. 21). MONICA LEK
Keira Knightley stars as Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette,
Keira Knightley stars as Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, a real-life French author who fought for creative ownership and sexual expression, in the drama "Colette" (Sept. 21). ROBERT VIGLASKY
Ten-year-old Lewis (Owen Vaccaro, center) gets magical life lessons from his uncle (Jack Black) and their witchy neighbor (Cate Blanchett) in "The House With a Clock in Its Walls" (Sept. 21).
Ten-year-old Lewis (Owen Vaccaro, center) gets magical life lessons from his uncle (Jack Black) and their witchy neighbor (Cate Blanchett) in "The House With a Clock in Its Walls" (Sept. 21). QUANTRELL D. COLBERT
Adrian Marrero (left) and Antonio Banderas star in the drama "Life Itself" (Sept. 21), which follows intertwining generations in New York and Spain.
Adrian Marrero (left) and Antonio Banderas star in the drama "Life Itself" (Sept. 21), which follows intertwining generations in New York and Spain. JOSE HARO/AMAZON STUDIOS
Violet (Sanaa Lathan, with mirror) has her perfect life unravel after a bad day at the hairdresser in the comedy "Nappily Ever After" (Sept. 21).
Violet (Sanaa Lathan, with mirror) has her perfect life unravel after a bad day at the hairdresser in the comedy "Nappily Ever After" (Sept. 21). TINA ROWDEN/NETFLIX
Rashida Jones (seen here in 1976 as a baby) directs the documentary "Quincy" (Sept. 21), about her music legend father.
Rashida Jones (seen here in 1976 as a baby) directs the documentary "Quincy" (Sept. 21), about her music legend father. NETFLIX
Joaquin Phoenix (left) and John C. Reilly stars as sibling hitman on the trail of a thieving prospector in the dark Western comedy "The Sisters Brothers" (Sept. 21).
Joaquin Phoenix (left) and John C. Reilly stars as sibling hitman on the trail of a thieving prospector in the dark Western comedy "The Sisters Brothers" (Sept. 21). MAGALI BRAGARD/ANNAPURNA PICTURES
Reign Edwards and Amy Forsyth play two friends hunted by a serial killer at a horror-themed amusement park in "Hell Fest" (Sept. 28).
Reign Edwards and Amy Forsyth play two friends hunted by a serial killer at a horror-themed amusement park in "Hell Fest" (Sept. 28). JACKSON LEE DAVIS
The aftermath of a police shooting involving an unarmed black man unfolds from three perspectives, including that of an African-American cop (John David Washington), in "Monsters and Men" (Sept. 28).
The aftermath of a police shooting involving an unarmed black man unfolds from three perspectives, including that of an African-American cop (John David Washington), in "Monsters and Men" (Sept. 28). NEON
Carrie (Tiffany Haddish) tries to smarten up Teddy (Kevin Hart) and a bunch of other misfits so they can pass the GED in the comedy "Night School" (Sept. 28).
Carrie (Tiffany Haddish) tries to smarten up Teddy (Kevin Hart) and a bunch of other misfits so they can pass the GED in the comedy "Night School" (Sept. 28). ELI JOSHUA ADE/UNIVERSAL
When he's not robbing banks, Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) is wooing Jewel (Sissy Spacek) in "The Old Man & the Gun" (Sept. 28).
When he's not robbing banks, Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) is wooing Jewel (Sissy Spacek) in "The Old Man & the Gun" (Sept. 28). ERIC ZACHANOWICH
A retired naturalist (Jeffrey Wright, right) helps
A retired naturalist (Jeffrey Wright, right) helps a young mother (Riley Keough) track down the pack of wolves that killed her son in the thriller "Hold the Dark" (Sept. 28). DAVID BUKACH/NETFLIX
Kathryn Hahn (center) and Paul Giamatti play a middle-aged couple whose baby-making troubles may be turning around when they meet a college dropout (Kayli Carter) in "Private Life" (Oct. 5).
Kathryn Hahn (center) and Paul Giamatti play a middle-aged couple whose baby-making troubles may be turning around when they meet a college dropout (Kayli Carter) in "Private Life" (Oct. 5). JOJO WHILDEN/NETFLIX
Hard-living singer Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) takes young up-and-comer Ally (Lady Gaga) under his wing in "A Star Is Born" (Oct. 5).
Hard-living singer Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) takes young up-and-comer Ally (Lady Gaga) under his wing in "A Star Is Born" (Oct. 5). NEAL PRESTON
Journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) gets an alien makeover
Journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) gets an alien makeover as the title antihero of "Venom" (Oct. 5). SONY PICTURES
Dan Stevens stars as a London man circa 1905 who travels to an idyllic island to rescue his sister from a religious cult in the horror thriller "Apostle" (Oct. 12).
Dan Stevens stars as a London man circa 1905 who travels to an idyllic island to rescue his sister from a religious cult in the horror thriller "Apostle" (Oct. 12). NETFLIX
A cult leader (Chris Hemsworth, standing) keeps a priest (Jeff Bridges) tied up, one of many shady shenanigans going on in the ensemble mystery "Bad Times at the El Royale" (Oct. 12).
A cult leader (Chris Hemsworth, standing) keeps a priest (Jeff Bridges) tied up, one of many shady shenanigans going on in the ensemble mystery "Bad Times at the El Royale" (Oct. 12). KIMBERLEY FRENCH
Steve Carell (with Maura Tierney) stars as a father struggling to help his son overcome drug addiction in "Beautiful Boy" (Oct. 12).
Steve Carell (with Maura Tierney) stars as a father struggling to help his son overcome drug addiction in "Beautiful Boy" (Oct. 12). FRANCOIS DUHAMEL
Madison Iseman (left), Caleel Harris and Jeremy Ray
Madison Iseman (left), Caleel Harris and Jeremy Ray Taylor are the youngsters forced to deal when author R.L. Stine's creatures run amok again in the sequel "Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween" (Oct. 12). DANIEL McFADDEN
Maggie Gyllenhaal stars as a teacher who becomes obsessed with her 5-year-old student (Parker Sevak) in the psychological thriller "The Kindergarten Teacher" (Oct. 12).
Maggie Gyllenhaal stars as a teacher who becomes obsessed with her 5-year-old student (Parker Sevak) in the psychological thriller "The Kindergarten Teacher" (Oct. 12). NETFLIX
Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz star as a married couple faced with a Thanksgiving deadline to sign a loyalty oath to the president in the dark comedy "The Oath" (Oct. 12).
Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz star as a married couple faced with a Thanksgiving deadline to sign a loyalty oath to the president in the dark comedy "The Oath" (Oct. 12). ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS
Melissa McCarthy stars as real-life literary forger Lee Israel in the drama "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" (Oct. 19).
Melissa McCarthy stars as real-life literary forger Lee Israel in the drama "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" (Oct. 19). MARY CYBULSKI
Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) gets all her weaponry in order as she waits for the return of masked psycho Michael Myers in "Halloween" (Oct. 19).
Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) gets all her weaponry in order as she waits for the return of masked psycho Michael Myers in "Halloween" (Oct. 19). RYAN GREEN
Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) becomes an activist for change after a childhood friend is gunned down in front of her in the drama "The Hate U Give" (Oct. 19).
Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) becomes an activist for change after a childhood friend is gunned down in front of her in the drama "The Hate U Give" (Oct. 19). ERIKA DOSS
A fishing boat captain (Matthew McConaughey, with Djimon
A fishing boat captain (Matthew McConaughey, with Djimon Hounsou) has his tranquil existence upended when his ex-wife wants his help with her violent new husband in the thriller "Serenity" (Oct. 19). GRAHAM BARTHOLOMEW
A teenage boy (Ed Oxenbould) in the 1960s watches his parents (Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal) grow apart in the drama "Wildlife" (Oct. 19).
A teenage boy (Ed Oxenbould) in the 1960s watches his parents (Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal) grow apart in the drama "Wildlife" (Oct. 19). IFC FILMS
Hilary Swank and Michael Shannon star as siblings who return home to deal with their ailing mother in the drama "What They Had" (Oct. 19).
Hilary Swank and Michael Shannon star as siblings who return home to deal with their ailing mother in the drama "What They Had" (Oct. 19). BLEECKER STREET
An American submarine commander (Gerard Butler) leads a group of Navy SEALs tasked with rescuing the Russian president and staving off World War III in "Hunter Killer" (Oct. 26).
An American submarine commander (Gerard Butler) leads a group of Navy SEALs tasked with rescuing the Russian president and staving off World War III in "Hunter Killer" (Oct. 26). JACK ENGLISH
Rowan Atkinson returns as the bumbling spy – and England's last hope when all of its secret agents are outed, thanks to a cyberattack – in "Johnny English Strikes Again" (Oct. 26).
Rowan Atkinson returns as the bumbling spy – and England's last hope when all of its secret agents are outed, thanks to a cyberattack – in "Johnny English Strikes Again" (Oct. 26). GILES KEYTE/FOCUS FEATURES

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