"Mad Men" star Vincent Kartheiser heading to Minn. stage

"Mad Men" star Vincent Kartheiser has a new summer job lined up during the TV drama's hiatus.

Kartheiser, who plays the malcontent Pete Campbell on the AMC series, will be starring at Minnesota's Guthrie Theater in a new stage production of "Pride and Prejudice" as the brooding hero of Jane Austen'smost famous novel.

"It's interesting playing a character that people have such strong feelings about before I've even begun playing him," he told the Associated Press Friday by phone from Los Angeles. "I don't have a lot of experience playing famous characters and it's an interesting expectation that lays on my head."

Kartheiser is a native of Minneapolis and first appeared at the Guthrie in 1986 at age 7 as Tiny Tim in "A Christmas Carol." He returned to play small roles in the company's 1990 productions of "Henry V" and "Henry IV."

The 34-year-old actor has often dipped in and out of theater projects, most recently playing the lead in the world premiere of "The Death of the Novel" at the San Jose Repertory Theatre last year. In 2005, he was in New York at the Cherry Lane Theatre in "Slag Heap."

"I started returning to the stage in my late 20s to get back in touch with my roots and to challenge myself," he said. "It really is our medium."

Set in late 18th-century England, "Pride and Prejudice" revolved around the relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and Darcy, an aloof, unmarried wealthy landowner seen by many as having as excessive pride. Who will play Elizabeth has yet to be revealed.

In real life, Kartheiser is engaged to "Gilmore Girls" alum Alexis Bledel, who appeared on the show as the mentally unstable mistress of Kartheiser's character. He wouldn't reveal if a date for the wedding had been set.

"I wouldn't tell you even if I could," he said.

"Pride and Prejudice," which will be directed by the Guthrie's leader Joe Dowling, will play from July 6-Aug. 31. It will mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Austen's novel which has been adapted into films, miniseries and a Broadway musical.

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