FX's hit series Sons of Anarchy is about to hit the road with its brand new third season, which debuts on Tuesday, September 7 at 10 PM ET, and the Sons of Anarchy: Season 2 DVD and Blu-ray sets will arrive on August 31. To celebrate both the upcoming Season 3 premiere and the new DVD/BD sets, the cast and crew of the show arrived in Hollywood for an advance screening of the Season 3 premiere episode, entitled simply So, and I was able to speak with the major players in front of and behind the cameras of this blockbuster series, which centers on the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original (SAMCRO) and their exploits in the town of Charming, California.
Ron Perlman, who plays Clarence "Clay" Morrow on the series, told us that, like most hit shows, it all starts with the writing:
"Yeah, I think it all starts with the writing. I think (series creator) Kurt Sutter always set out to depict a world that is kind of exotic, because I don't ever think it's been explored in such a multi-dimensional and nuanced way. I don't think it's ever been explored as, essentially, what is a family drama, where the motorcycle club aspect of it are the accessories and accouterments. They define the world, but they are not the world. The world is the interaction between this alternate family, off the grid, trying to keep their heads above water and trying to stay autonomous and independent and away from the things they're rejecting in the rest of society."
Katey Sagal plays Gemma Teller Morrow on the show and she talked about where her character would be heading this season and she also gave us her thoughts on working with the legendary Hal Holbrook who, as we reported back in April, will be appearing in the first four episodes of Season 3 as Gemma's father, Nate Maddock. Take a look at what she had to say below:
"Well, as we left her, she was on the lam after having gotten retribution for something she had felt very close to her. She felt very good about that, I think, for about 10 minutes. Then, being on the lam, what you find is Gemma away from her family, who she loves more than anything, and there she is on her own. She struggles with that and, ultimately, as we know, Hal Holbrook is in the show and she ends up finding her way to her parents' house. We'll find out a lot more about Gemma's history and the history of the club as the whole season unfolds, but the beginning we find out more about Gemma's history. What's going on in Charming is, of course, the baby has been abducted and the shit is flying, dude. Everybody is upset."
We also asked if Hal Holbrook would be on for more than just that initial four-episode arc to kick off the season but, after Katey Sagal conferring with series creator Kurt Sutter, it seems he will only appear in those four episodes this season. However, Katey Sagal did leave the door open for his return:
"Who knows. As long as you don't die on Sons of Anarchy, you could come back. If you're dead, then you'll never be back, so if you haven't died, you can come back."
Kim Coates plays the always colorful Alex "Tig" Trager and he told us on the red carpet that Season 3 will see Tig back to his normal self:
"Tig still has issues. He's probably going to have issues until this thing is over, but he really gets his mojo back this year. I'm having a lot of fun playing this stuff this year. He kind of gets naked, he kind of gets drunk, he kind of gets sober, he kind of gets tough, he kind of pulls triggers, the knife is coming out easier. He's getting his mojo back. He really is. It's been a lot of fun for me this year.
He also said that his favorite time on the set is when they actually get to ride, although it doesn't happen as often as he wishes it would, due to the intense shooting schedule:
"Our favorite days are when we get to ride, and we don't get to ride nearly enough on this show, because of lack of time. We really, really don't have a lot of time on this show, so whenever we get to ride, it's a great day for us."
After almost missing him on the red carpet, we thankfully were able to speak with the fantastic Charlie Hunnam, who plays Jackson "Jax" Teller, the character that is at the center of the main conflict this season: Getting his baby, Abel, back from those who kidnapped her in the Season 2 finale, a quest that takes them all the way to Ireland. Here's what Charlie Hunnam had to say:
"There's a lot of resolution for Jax. It's really the season of the baby, I've got to go find my baby and that takes a little bit of time to do. I think for me, playing Jax is a really interesting thing. I've always been really determined and clear in my desire and goal to form the club and the ideals that I see for it. I think I kind of realized that it is the way it is for a reason. I don't deal with the missing baby very well and, as a byproduct of that, we really explore the love that these guys have for each other, which I think is really the key to the motorcycle club, the brotherhood and that they love each other. It's been a lot of fun."
"Yeah, she came back for a nice meaty little arc. Hal, unfortunately, because I'm a giant fan of his, I only got to play like one beat with him. I had a passing moment with him and unfortunately no big meaty scenes."
"Well, we have a meeting at the beginning of the year and he tells us an overview of what's going to happen, basically from start to middle to end. He's very generous that way and just the process of television is constantly evolving. You see things that are working and really interesting and focus on that. Sometimes, as an actor, without all of the information, it can be a little bit tricky, but I just go and ask Kurt if I'm ever unsure. He's a really fun cat to work with. We're very lucky to have him."
Finally, we were able to speak with the man who started it all, series creator Kurt Sutter, who spoke about working with this incredible cast every day:
"I've been blessed. I have great actors. We always have a sit-down at the beginning of every season. I talk to each actor individually about some of the bigger arcs of the season, so we're all on the same page and we're all doing the same homework. They don't necessarily know what we're going to do, story-wise, but I don't want to drop any huge curves, in terms of them doing work in one direction, and then, suddenly, I don't want to hit them with a curve. We try to stay on the same page. I do that with Charlie and we do that throughout the season, with some bigger episodes and some bigger emotional ties."
Since Sutter was a writer-producer on The Shield, he was asked if there could be a possibility of bringing in Michael Chiklis to guest-star on Sons of Anarchy, and he revealed that another alum of The Shield would be returning to the show this season, Kenny Johnson, who played Curtis Lemansky on The Shield:
"I love Chiklis. First of all, he's booked, but, for me to bring on Chiky, it's a little too much. It's a little too on the nose, too much Shield. But, who knows. If we're lucky enough to keep going, maybe. We do have Kenny Johnson, though. Kenny will be back for seven or eight (episodes). We're excited."
That's about all I have from the Sons of Anarchy event in Hollywood. Sons of Anarchy's third season premieres on Tuesday, September 7 at 10 PM ET on FX and you can pick up Sons of Anarchy: Season 2 on DVD and Blu-ray today, August 31. Peace in. Gallagher out!