Don Draper & Michael Corleone Are Very Much Alike

Comparing an advertiser to a mob boss? Eh…they’re almost the same.

When I started getting into the television series “Mad Men”, and watched Jon Hamm play “Don Draper”, I say to myself: Why is he so good? He hardly does any acting besides drink liquor and screw women. What’s so appealing about him…

You can say his ‘dominant presence’ is appealing. Looks do sell on t.v. It’s just like how sports networks have good-looking women reporting news — sex sells to the men watching. “Mad Men” sells you Hamm in tailor-made suits, that women love him in and men wish they could be in. But there’s more to Hamm’s performance as Donald Draper.

What makes Draper so good? I call it: Silent acting.

Silent acting is where the actor doesn’t say or do much at all, but makes you feel his deepest emotions. It could be the emotions that the character has been living with since he was a kid — or the demons that he has to suffer each day. Those emotions speak so loudly and profound, the viewer watching at home can feel that same pain and become seductive with the character. That’s a whole different type of acting. It’s actually harder than your typical stomp your feet or “Stella” scream.

That’s what Don Draper does. He’s not gonna jump and scream out of his lungs, but he’s gonna make you feel his pain, with just facial expressions. As I watch Draper in his final season and witnessed what he has been throughout the six seasons, I can see his body being worn out from his ups and downs and trials and tribulations.

Just like what Paul Rudd’s character said in the movie “This Is 40”: “Donald Draper has been through a lot!”

Another guy who had that same silent acting in a character he’s performed in the pass, is some actor by the name of Al Pacino, as “Michael Corleone” on the legendary movie “The Godfather”.

Pacino’s Corleone character is iconic, like the movie. Although he doesn’t do much in this character. So why is it praised so much for it? Well, just like Don Draper, it’s silent acting at it’s best.

Pacino’s eyes sold it. He didn’t have to say much as Michael Corleone. Without those big, black pupils, they’d be no Michael Corleone.

I remember watching the documentary of the making to “The Godfather” and Francis Ford Coppola saying how it because of Pacino’s eyes is the reason why he picked him for the part.

But the eyes weren’t the only thing that Pacino great. It was his deep emotions.

Michael was quiet. Kept to himself. Like Draper, had demons. Had pressure. Pressure: taking over the family business with his father gone and protecting his life and family. Demons: because he killed his own brother.

If you watched the Godfather movies, you saw that emotion and pain on the screen. Michael didn’t have to cry or scream with frustration. You could just see that dark cloud on top of him. How his young eyes went from young to old, due to stress.

Corleone and Draper have a lot of things in common. Not just the way they performed — their personal lives, as well. It’s actually pretty amazing the common things the two characters have.

BLACK HAIR
Both have slick, black hair, that never gets ruined.
PRIME AGE IN THE 60s
In their prime ages in the same decade of the 1960s. 

SUITS
Draper and Corleone always looked dapper in their fitted suits. Hardly ever see them without a suit on.
HIGH INTELLECT
Both were good at what did because of their high intellect.
Corleone went to Dartmouth College.
Draper went to a City College, while working as a Fur Salesman. 
DEFENDED FOR THEIR COUNTRY
Corleone dropped out of college and enlists in the Marines, and fights in the Pacific War.  
Draper ran away from home in his 20s and enlists in the U.S Army and fought in the Korean War.
DEAD BROTHERS
The most shocking comparison of them all. Had brothers die from their own fault.

Michael’s brother, Fredo Corleone, was killed by Michael’s demand, due to Fredo’s connections with other mob bosses that enemies of Michael. All Fredo wanted was respect.

Don’s brother, Adam, died from suicide, since Adam was so heartbroken that his brother Don didn’t want any part of him. Adam just wanted to be part of Don’s life.

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