It all started quietly but the ever-increasing screams announced the highly anticipated arrivals of the Sons of Anarchy actors to the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on September 6 for the screening of the show’s season seven premiere.
Fans of the show arrived in droves up and down Hollywood Boulevard hoping for a glimpse of their favorite actors as they walked the red carpet for the show’s seventh and final season. The atmosphere was electrifying and with the increasing influx of the actors, things got louder and louder. It was clear when leading man Charlie Hunnam arrived as the crowd roared.
I had the opportunity to catch up with a number of the actors to secure some details about what is happening in Redwood this season.
Winter Ave Zoli spoke about her character, Lyla. “Lyla is moving up, writing and producing Jax Teller’s (Hunnam) porn studio” – certainly a good situation for her. “She’s feeling her strength as a woman,” Zoli continued. I also learned Lyla will remain very loyal to both the Club and Jax; basically, the MC family means everything to her. She also remains close to Gemma (Katey Sagal) because the MC’s matriarch “has been there to pick her up when she’s been down.” Zoli warned the fans to expect “all the same good stuff…violence, surprise, people dying…it’s going to be great.”
Mo McRae who plays Tyler, the leader of the One-Niners, told me, “the twists and turns that Kurt has taken the show on this year, it’s unbelievable. It’s riveting.” Tyler gets closer with Jax this season but McRae was quick to point out, “you don’t know where it’s going to go” with Jax. Given the relationships his character has, the next natural question was to inquire about the role August Marks (Billy Brown) will play in these alliances. Although McRae reminded me Marks is the boss, “there might be some drastic changes.” Really? This sparked my interest but McRae would only add we’ll have to keep watching Sons to see if his organization grows.
While Drea de Matteo dished that Wendy “can play the victim sometimes” – very interesting! – she also insisted Wendy has no agenda other than being a part of Jax’s kids’ lives. As far as Mark Boone Jr. (Bobby) and Robin Weigert (Ally Lowen) are concerned, they took some time to show some appreciation and praise each other on the red carpet.
For Jacob Vargas, this was his first red carpet for Sons as his character, Allesandro Montez, a former member of the Sons of Anarchy Reno chapter, came in at the tail end of season six. Regarding the final season, Vargas described it as “electrifying” since “a lot is happening,” and said, “the past is going to haunt a lot of people.” Although he hopes his character makes it out alive, Vargas’ favorite story line belongs to Jax. “I really love where Jax’s character is going this season. It’s a whole different character to the point where the MC doesn’t recognize him anymore. Charlie is amazing this season.”
Rusty Coones, who plays Quinn, praised the fans of the show and felt bad he couldn’t stay longer to sign more autographs. “These people are the most dedicated fans.” Regarding Quinn, Coones explained, “He takes care of business,” but also noted Quinn “seems to like to bury people; he’s just a crazy guy.”
With all the recent tragic events and the latest twists and turns for SAMCRO, I joked with Coones about Quinn possibly having a reason to be concerned about running out of burial space. He said that is always in his character’s mind. Next, we discussed how strong of a group the Charming chapter now has. Coones agreed. “Everybody is hard core loyal to the club to the death. No doubt about it. To go through what we’re going through, they have to be.” That sounded pretty intense to me so it’s no wonder Coones chose to describe the final season as “brutal.”
From Mystic Pizza to Sons – it’s been quite a journey for Annabeth Gish, who stated she is honored to be joining the show’s seasoned cast as Sheriff Althea Jarry. Gish revealed Jarry understands Charming is a “complicated town” and that her character steps in to do DA Tyne Patterson’s (CCH Pounder) bidding. Also, Jarry “is not adverse to using her own methods to get justice.” I like her already!
Gish also disclosed two extremely fascinating factoids about Jarry. “As we’ll come to discover through the final season, there is a dark twisted part of her,” and an even bigger reveal, “There’s a particular attraction to one Son.” *Rubs hands together in anticipation* Although I can’t reveal the identity of the Son who is the focus of Jarry’s affection, I can say the wait won’t be long!
Next, I talked to Theo Rossi who plays Juice Ortiz and who I believe has one of the most fascinating story lines in season seven. Who would have guessed Juice, the guy who was pranked by the MC into wearing a diaper, would go on to be a wanted man by the same MC brothers? He described the final season as “unpredictable,” and when I asked about the preparation he did to play Juice this season, Rossi discussed his trust for the creative process of the show, due to his blind trust for series creator Kurt Sutter’s writing. “Characters are being built to a certain place; everything is leading somewhere; he doesn’t do episodes that are for no reason,” Rossi explained. “Everything has its purpose and when you know that as an actor, you trust the act. It changes the game; it changes everything because you’re willing to go anywhere, any place essentially.”
I inquired next about Juice’s on-going closeness with Gemma and Rossi described their relationship as “complicated.” Given the tragic events they were involved in during season six, he noted they remain on high alert. “They’re two people who are truly living in the moment because every moment, they’re worried someone is going to find out something.”
Rossi is very devoted to a number of philanthropic causes, including the Boot Campaign, which remains very near and dear to his heart. This year’s event will take place on November 2 in a new location and when I asked about it, Rossi expressed his excitement for the new venue. “San Antonio, Texas. We’re going home to where the Boot Girls started this all, tons and tons of military personnel there and the veterans. Me and Tig and whoever else ends up joining us.”
Things seem to be looking up for Rossi’s production company and their upcoming film Bad Hurt. “We just did a bunch of screenings this weekend; the response has been out of control so we’re really happy.” There isn’t a specific release date yet but Rossi is hoping for Sundance (and so am I!). As the crowd continued to scream in excitement at the actors’ arrivals, it reminded me to ask Rossi about his thoughts on the strong fan turnout in support of the final premiere. “This is a fan made show, 100%, from day one. The ratings go up every year because of the fans. I’ve never forgotten that for one second,” Rossi quipped. “I love them.”
With the red carpet getting louder by the minute, the clock was ticking fast for the premiere to start. At this point, I knew I wouldn’t be able to interview Hunnam or Sutter although Judy Manning, co-founder of YEC (my photographer for the evening) and I, did get some fantastic video and photos of Hunnam on the red carpet, including one with me! I was delighted, however, to get some scoop from one of my favorite Sons cast members, executive producer, and principal director Paris Barclay. We first discussed his marvel at the fan turnout: “I guess we’re loved, so now we have to keep delivering for them.”
Speaking of delivering, one of the reasons I love interviewing Barclay so much is because he’s great about providing his unique and big picture perspective of what is happening on the show. I also enjoy how he always points out the must see episodes. Right away, I inquired about this and he revealed his favorite episode so far this season is episode seven. He made it clear, however, that “this season, I don’t feel we’ve taken the foot off the pedal.”
We continued to discuss Gemma’s journey this season and the extent of her lies. “Does she make it or not? Time will tell.”
My next question was whether there were any characters he found surprising this season. Barclay shared some interesting answers. First, he quickly pointed out Niko Nicotera (Ratboy), who he considers to be “one of the most interesting characters this season,” finally steps out of the shadows. Barclay explained that with Nicotera, they realized they ended up getting a terrific actor and wanted to showcase him more. “Everything we’ve given him, he’s mastered out of the park. So we’ve given him more, so we’re developing that story line.”
The other character Barclay thinks has been surprising comes with a sticker shock warning: “Actually, it’s Jackson’s son Abel, who is played by Evan and Ryder Longo. He has quite a bit of acting to do, quite a bit of a complicated story for a four-year-old.”
I swear his answer got my heart beating faster! I’ve been anxiously anticipating the role Abel might play this season (I have my suspicions) but it looks like I’ll have to sit tight and wait a while longer for the reveals. The discussion about Abel had me thinking about Courtney Love’s character, Ms. Harrison, Abel’s teacher this season. “That’s going to be interesting,” Barclay pointed out. “People are going to have controversial feelings this season. I don’t want to say too much but nothing goes as expected.”
Last but not least, I asked Barclay for his thoughts about Jax’s story. His response was quite direct: “He’s not going to be able to turn things around. I think it’s a tragedy, and I think it’s going to have a tragic conclusion.”
Then, it was my turn to talk to Nicotera and he filled me in on what to expect for Ratboy this season. “He’s definitely been challenged a lot more, in terms of the lifestyle that he’s chosen, and definitely this season, you see more how he deals with it.” Along with increased responsibilities, Ratboy has to quickly and increasingly show his loyalty for SAMCRO, which Nicotera quickly put into context. “From the moment after he was patched, the club pretty much … it started to fall apart.” His favorite story line is Jax’s journey and the transformation and mutations he goes through.” “I’m still very fascinated by Jax’s story line. I think it’s a very intense situation he’s involved with.”
Nicotera warned fans to expect an intense season. “There won’t be disappointments; there are definitely some surprises in store for them.”
In the end, everyone was rushing into the theater and I only got a few words with Kim Coates, who reminded me only Sutter knows where this is all heading.
Ultimately, Jax is out for vengeance and it sure sounds as if he’s been unleashed on this pathway to mayhem. After hearing everyone’s perspective, I believe McRae said it best: “Whatever you think is going to happen, it’s not going to happen. It’s going to be better.”
What did you think of the actors’ hints about Sons of Anarchy’s season seven? Leave me a comment here or hit me up on Twitter @LutzElle.
Tune in to Sons of Anarchy Tuesdays at 10pm ET/PT, only on FX.
To check out Kurt Sutter’s Sons of Anarchy video channel on YouTube, go to http://www.youtube.com/sutterinksoa.
Photos © 2014 FX Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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