While the name “Donald Trump” was never mentioned, FX’s panel Tuesday for Mayans M.C. at TCA summer press tour prompted a passionate defense of the show’s depiction of violence by co-creator Kurt Sutter.
Last weekend’s hate-fueled mass shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH and the government’s response seemed impossible to leave off the table as a topic, though it took until late in the session. Mayans, a spinoff of Sons of Anarchy, is set in the world of Latino biker gangs along the U.S.-Mexico border. While technically a fictional realm, the show features plenty of turf wars settled with weapons.
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“This is a world that has the language of violence,” Sutter said. “We’re exploring these damaged characters in this dark world. …. Creatively it’s our job to tell human truth through fiction. The truth of violence is that it’s never gratuitous. It’s not pretty, not sexy and it always has consequences.” He added, “Violence shatters humanity and that’s my job – to put it in story.”
Sutter went on to say the show is “an easy target up here” on the TCA stage. “Every superhero movie is loaded top to bottom with violence. But because it’s done with lazers and by pretty white people in tights, it’s OK. That sh-t’s more irresponsible.”
Elgin James, who co-created the show with Sutter, has entered the film and TV realm after a past involving a prison stint on an extortion conviction. “I feel awful that that it wasn’t the first thing we talked about,” he said of the aftermath of the shootings. He recalled growing up being called racial slurs and “fighting, literally fighting, white supremacists for 20 years.” With the show, he said, “We’re trying to figure out how to do that through art.”
Edward James Olmos, who stars as the show’s patriarch, said the upcoming season is “much more intense and rewarding than the first season.”
The premiere episode of the second season packs in a lot of plot twists and action set pieces. Starting off with such a bang “felt like the most organic and compelling way to tell this story,” Sutter said. “If I start thinking, ‘Oh OK, how do we parcel this out across the whole season? Then it starts feeling like math instead of storytelling. And we’re horrible at math.”
Mayans M.C. bowed last fall as 2018’s highest-rated new cable series in Live+3. Produced by Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions, the 10-episode second season is slated to premiere on Tuesday, September 3, on FX.