‘Mad Men’ Star Vincent Kartheiser on Trading 1960s Cool for 17th-Century Muck

Despite his preparation to play colonial governor in Nat Geo’s “Saints & Strangers,” actor tells TheWrap, “You sort of have to let it go at some point”

Post-“Mad Men,” Vincent Kartheiser doesn’t seem to have an issue with typecasting. After all, there are very few similarities between ’60s ad executive Pete Campbell and his character William Bradford on Nat Geo’s 17th-century-set colonial miniseries “Saints & Strangers,” which comes to a conclusion tonight.

Kartheiser told TheWrap that every role he’s taken since “Mad Men” has felt like the opposite of Campbell, because that character was so detailed and anchored to a specified place and time.

And playing Bradford, the longtime governor of Plymouth Colony, proved a bigger challenge in preparation. “This isn’t World War II, there’s not a thousand different journals and newspaper accounts,” the actor told TheWrap. “There was no one obvious factual course.”

Kartheiser read a couple of Bradford’s books, very to-the-point factual recordings of the time. Still, research can only take an actor so far.

“You sort of have to let it go at some point,” Kartheiser said. “You can’t think about it everyday, because you’d kill yourself.”

So, let it go he did — alongside Ron Livingston, Anna Camp, and the rest of the cast. Together they interpreted America before the first Thanksiving, an era that was not only muddy on fact, but muddy with mud.

The first couple of days on set, Kartheiser recalled, the cast worked through pouring rain and walked through muck in old wooden shoes.

Perhaps he should reconsider another series based on cool suits and a cushy office job.

The pilgrims’ own adventure concludes tonight on Nat Geo Channel at 9 p.m. ET.