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- American television director
"Sons of Anarchy" fans know that to call out an "SoA" storyline as being particularly shocking and violent is no small thing ... SAMCRO doesn't make its living growing flowers or baking cupcakes, after all.
But the Season 6 premiere of the FX drama on Sept. 10 does indeed include a timely, violent storyline that series creator Kurt Sutter says will be "the catalyst for the third act of this morality play we're doing."
No worries, "SoA" fans — we're not disclosing any specifics that would spoil what is a powerful episode. But with Sutter set on ending the motorcycle club drama after Season 7, he says the plot will lead the way toward the series finale.
"I've wanted to do that story for about three years," Sutter said on Friday during the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles. "I knew, obviously, it would be somewhat controversial, but I feel like as much as I wouldn't do something just because it was controversial, I'm also not not going to do something because it's controversial.
"I feel like it's an organic story to our world in terms of, it's what these guys do ... I will also say that there's a lot of blood and guts in my show, and it is a signature of the show, but I also feel like — and I feel like I'm not lying to myself when I say this — nothing is done gratuitously, that the events that happen in the premiere are really the catalyst for the third act of this morality play we're doing."
Continuing to look ahead toward the series finale, Sutter also shared his hopes for how "Sons of Anarchy" will eventually be remembered in TV land.
"I'd just like the show to continue to do what it's doing … having our characters develop and each season get richer and deeper and more complex," Sutter said. "At the end of the day, I just want it to be looked at as a solid TV show with great characters and really good storytelling."
More tidbits from the "Sons of Anarchy" panel at TCA:
Sutter's take on the conflict that has driven the entire series, especially for Charlie Hunnam's Jax Teller: "Can I really do what I do and follow this path and still show up and be a caring and loving husband, a good and loving father? Can I have all that and still be, you know, the leader of, ultimately, a criminal enterprise?"
"Undeclared" and original "Queer as Folk" series alum Hunnam on landing the role of Jax: "I was at a really low period of my career, where I had a burning desire to do some really meaty work ... [film] studios would say I wasn't a viable enough commodity to support the infrastructure of the thing getting made. Then Kurt's script came along, and it just blew me away. I've said to Kurt just endlessly, 'Thank you, thank you, thank you.' It's been by far the greatest creative experience of my life, and I just adore playing this guy."
Sutter, who was also a writer and executive producer on "The Shield," expressing his mutual admiration for Hunnam: "I was doing an awful draft of one of the 'Punisher' movies … and it was during the draft phase of ['Sons of Anarchy'], and I watched 'Green Street Hooligans' … and I saw Charlie, and it was at that moment that I wanted Charlie for Jax. And I didn't know who he was in terms of where he lived, if he was available. And it was just one of those things where I said, 'I want this guy. Where is he? Who reps him?' He was sort of at this turning point in his career … didn't know if he wanted to be an actor. And he came in and nabbed the role, and it was just one of those things where I always feel like Charlie and I, you know, there was a certain amount of fate and destiny with this connection, and that we've really kind of created this character together to a larger degree. So it's just been this really great journey for both of us … So I echo that gratitude."
Sutter also plays battered SAMCRO member Otto on "SoA," and, again, no spoilers, but Otto's path certainly doesn't change in the Season 6 premiere. "Otto is my anti-Dorian Gray," he said. "That's a little bit of my own sort of meta joke. But … violence doesn't happen in a vacuum. If you do A, ultimately B is going to happen, and B for Otto is usually always very bad."
Hunnam didn't only get a great role out of the "Sons of Anarchy" job; he shared that he also found a new, valuable mode of maneuvering through Los Angeles's notorious traffic. "I had a vague relationship with motorcycles before ... but living in Los Angeles, it's always ... kind of frustrating to get around, and so much so that it really inhibited my desire to go out into the world. And I just had this epiphany the first day on set on riding a bike around that this is the way I want to get around, and I just love it. There's the sense of freedom and sense of being a part of the environment around you, and it's fun. It's fun riding a bike ... You smell the flowers, and you smell the garbage. And you try not to get killed by a Prius."
Though "Sons of Anarchy" will end with Season 7, the universe that Sutter created could live on as a prequel series that would unfold the story of John Teller (Jax's dad) and the rest of the original SAMCRO members, as well as supporting characters who've been introduced throughout the show. "SoA" graphic novels and a video game are also possible spinoff projects.
Golden Globe winner/Emmy-deserving Katey Sagal, whose SAMCRO matriarch Gemma was viciously gang-raped in another shocking "Sons of Anarchy" season premiere, on how Gemma starts Season 6: "She's in sort of a new family situation, but it never really strays far from her. Her intention is always to keep her family together. I'd like to say that she is somewhat wiser ... she was, I'm not going to say 'manipulated,' but she was, by her son, at the end of season five, in terms of maneuvering that piece with Clay, which I think she ultimately felt needed to be done for the good of the all ... 'gentle' is a very hard word to use for her, but I would say she's in a wiser and gentler place."
"Sons of Anarchy" Season 6 premieres Tuesday, 9/10 at 10 PM on FX.