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JoBlo.com Rides into Charming for a Sons of Anarchy set visit!

08.26.2014
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Spoiler Warning: There are season 6 spoilers contained below

Fans of the hit FX series “Sons of Anarchy” have much to be excited about over the next couple of weeks. With the upcoming release of the shocking and turbulent season 6 on Blu-ray and DVD this Tuesday, to the very last season premiere on September 9, viewers will have to prepare for one final ride into the sunset. The last season promises to be a volatile and thrilling experience, one which may lead to tragedy. Or will it possibly offer salvation for Jax (Charlie Hunnam)? And if you have yet to witness last year’s season finale, get ready for one of the most intense endings yet. Of course, SOA fans are already aware that series creator Kurt Sutter is ready and willing to throw all your expectations out the window. Nobody is safe in this Shakespearean inspired drama.

Recently, we at JoBlo.com had the incredible opportunity to visit the quaint little town of Charming – or more appropriately, a sound-stage in North Hollywood, California. As a longtime fan of SOA it was simply beyond words to find myself sitting in the Sheriff’s office featured in the series. The assortment of weapons and the many wanted posters on the wall gave this fan a certain thrill. This feeling would only be intensified later on during the day when we checked out the most impressive bikes this side of Charming at the Teller-Morrow Auto Garage. But before our revved up look at Harley Davidson bikes, I found myself on the other side of Sheriff Althea Jarry’s desk. If you are unfamiliar with the name, you won’t be much longer when Annabeth Gish joins the cast in Season 7.

When you normally do a set visit, you are allowed to get a glimpse of whatever scene they happen to be filming at the moment. This did happen as expected – we were shown our way to the monitors to watch what was currently being filmed – but there was secrecy in the air as we were not allowed to listen clearly to any dialogue. This is very unusual during a set visit. It was obvious however that cast members Katey Sagal (Gemma), Theo Rossi (Juice) and Drea de Matteo (Wendy) were involved in a very serious scene taking place in a motel room. All those in front of, and behind, the camera were making sure nothing was revealed that shouldn’t. One thing is for sure, Gemma was trying to solve an issue that presumable Juice had caused. And she was clearly in charge of whatever catastrophe was in their midst.

Afterwards during a break, we were given a tour of the sound-stage and set. This included many familiar rooms that have appeared on the series. We also saw a number of amazing bikes in the previously mentioned garage. During the tour we took a few pictures and enjoyed the thrill of being so close to the beloved Sons, yet there was one room we were not allowed to photograph. Series producer and director Paris Barclay explained that we were about to see the aftermath of a massacre. Diosa Norte, decadently adorned in red and velvet, was riddled with bullet holes, broken glass, bloodshed and a sense of horror that might even frighten “Scarface.” What do we know about what happened here? Absolutely nothing! And frankly I’m a little nervous to find out. Me thinks a whole mess of characters are going to tragically fall in this upcoming season.

With very little knowledge or explanation of the scene we saw, we were offered the chance to chat with a number of the talented cast on hand. They talked about the intense previous season, yet we were given scarcely a single hint of what is to come. The very lovely Drea de Matteo came by to chat about her character Wendy. She discussed playing a girl that you could say started off as someone who was easy to hate. Thankfully, along with the series itself, Wendy has grown into something more than that. When asked if that was always the case, or rather was it something that Kurt went into later as the show progressed, she explained that she never felt that Wendy was a despicable, nor evil girl.

I remember that everybody hated the character because she OD’d while pregnant. She’s a terrible drug addict who has no respect for herself. And she’s not a victim because she makes her own choices, but at the same time, is she an evil character? No. Stupid? At times, yes. Probably too sensitive, probably feels too much. So to put her in this “evil character category,” that’s not what Wendy ever was. She was just too vulnerable to be alive. She was so out of touch with herself. But the way Kurt has written her, he’s never really written her as a despicable character. She’s not going after anybody, she’s not playing two sides and she’s not vindictive. She is just probably the only honest person around. The fans are the fans. They have their own agenda, man.

When asked where she’d like to see her character go this coming season, she offered this.

At the moment, I have absolutely no idea where the story is going. I had ideas of her staying clean and keeping shit together for everybody, which would be the complete antithesis of who she was at the beginning of the show. But I don’t know, she’s been so vulnerable and easy to break, I don’t know if she’s going to be able to handle the mayhem and chaos that I’m SURE will ensue as it has in every season. And there’s no Tara here this year. She was my rock. Even though we had our conflicts, I leaned on her. I personally miss her. I miss Maggie, I miss working with her. Whatever Kurt decides is where she should be as far as I’m concerned. I trust him.

The great Kim Coates came by to gave a little insight on how Tig has been presented as comic relief, as well as one of the darkest characters on the show. Was this in the cards for Kurt and company from the beginning?

Ryan Hurst said that Sutter found Tig’s voice before any other. The necrophilia, the dolls, but he’s funny and he’ll rip his shirt off for anybody. He’s loyal. And he can cry and yell. Ryan recognized that very early in Kurt’s writing. I don’t know how much of that was planned. I’ve always said that Tommy and Boone and me and Theo, us four, we’re the remaining carpet of this walk. Sometimes we don’t have a lot to do, but when they do give me this special shit to do, it’s the best shit. It’s the best stuff. And we’re solid. We’re the club.

Things have been especially intense for Theo Rossi’s Juice – this includes the scene we just witnessed. When Rossi was asked about the last year’s season finale, he shared the reaction he had while watching with fans of the show. Warning if you have yet to see Season 6: Spoilers ahead!

Kim and I were lucky enough to watch it with fans in Vegas, there was this sort of contest giveaway thing. It was the first time I’d seen it since it had gotten sound work and all that. So we’re in this big area with a couple hundred fans, watching the finale. And before everyone was like, “Oh, you need to die, you betrayed Jax, you did this, you did that.” And Kim and I are sitting there watching the screen, and then that moment happens. So out of nowhere, the fork and the iron. Then I come in out of nowhere and kill him. You think for a second I might kill Gemma and it all happens so fast. And Jax is sitting there with his wife which is one of the most heartbreaking things ever. You could hear a pin drop. People didn’t know what to do. They didn’t believe that someone like Tara could leave the show, especially that way. Because now what does this do? And what it did, and where we are now, we have these two characters that have the biggest secret ever to exist in, what we’ve started from episode one, and that was Gemma and I. And what that does to us, and where that puts us is a whole story in itself, and that’s kind of where we see everything. It’s really compelling stuff and I’m honored to be a part of it.

Fans of the show are well aware that Dayton Callie's Wayne Unser has essentially been given a death sentence – the character was diagnosed with colon cancer - yet he has been written into at least the first two episodes. Callie was asked if he’d like a nice quiet deathbed scene, or something more intense like a shootout.

We’ve talked about this with Kurt when he saw I was going to stick around a little bit. First of all, a lot of people misunderstand that the seasons aren’t that far apart. It hasn’t been seven years, it’s been about two and a half years, top to bottom. So it hasn’t been that long. But my father died of cancer, but he lived for seven years, so there’s gotta be some hope for people who have cancer out there. So there is no better person than me to be a poster child. So we’ve been keeping my death at bay as far as that goes. I would dread a deathbed scene. My father didn’t have one, I don’t want one. Kill me in a hail of bullets or some shit. Let me ride my motorcycle into a wall. He [Kurt] won’t let me ride, I think he thinks I’m gonna get hurt. But I do actually ride in real life.”

As a supporter of the troublesome Gemma, I asked Dayton if he thinks that Unser would still do anything for her. After all, she has put this poor guy through hell and back. He responded rather surprisingly with this…

I don’t think so. I think he’s coming for her, but he also bailed her out when he knew she was innocent, when everyone tried to frame her. So I don’t think he’s gotten her out of anything where she was flat out wrong. I think he’d weigh a situation and take it from there.”

One very popular character on SOA would have to be Venus Van Dam, played by the incredibly talented Walton Goggins. When he stopped by the Sheriff’s office to chat with the press, we asked about his return and the internet buzz surrounding it. Goggins discussed his reaction to Venus' amazing reception on the show and his thoughts on the characters popularity.

I’ve known Kurt for thirteen years. He was one of the most important writers on “The Shield,” so he’s like a brother to me. And the way this kind of came about was it stemmed around Kurt saying, “Walton and Chiklis could never be on ‘Sons of Anarchy’ because people wouldn’t accept them for anyone other than their characters on ‘The Shield’ in THIS universe”. And I said “I don’t wanna do your show. And if I did do it, then I’d want to play a transgender character.” And a year later he said, “Were you serious?” And I said, “Did you write it?” And he said, “Yeah.” And he sent the pages and I was like, “F*cking YEAH, I’m coming right now. Bye Quentin Tarantino!” I have an idea of what the audience of this show is. It’s not so dissimilar from “The Shield”, but it’s much bigger so I was really worried about the reaction from the audience. And I think one of the most gratifying things of my entire twenty year career, out of all the directors and actors I’ve worked with, it almost pales in comparison to the love and acceptance that this audience has had for this character. The conservative parts of this country, they’re exposed to the LGBT community that we are in larger urban areas. And if it stands on the shoulders of the people that came before and makes it a little bit easier for people not to see as a man or a woman, but just a human being... To look past all of it, then I feel like we’ve done our job.”

And when it came to where he’d like to see Venus go for this final season…

“It’s funny man, because she really means a lot to me. I was so grateful that my character on “The Shield” died. I was so happy. It was tough for me the way that it happened, but I don’t have to think about what his life is like in the world. And for me as a person I’m afraid I would’ve spent a lot of time thinking, “Well, what’s he f*cking doing today? How old is his son now?” I don’t have to think about any of those things. But with Venus, I hope she lives. Really! She’s touched a place in me that I didn’t know existed. She’s allowed me to see the world through a set of eyes that’s forever changed me. I get emotional thinking about it. In some ways she’s the most at peace, self-realized person that I’ve ever played. More so than Boyd, more so than any role in any movie, she is HERE and PRESENT, and I think the fact that she’s transgender is just f*cking awesome, so I hope she lives.

After a fascinating day speaking to this amazing cast, we finally sat down with Paris Barclay. Whether it was during the sound-stage tour, or sitting chatting about the Blu-ray release, or the upcoming season, he was certainly playing it safe. Yet I did get the chance to ask him about an intriguing new cast member.

Maybe I had low expectations because I only know him as the “Marilyn Manson character”, but I was really amazed. He was so dark and shady and understated, and I thought “Wow, this really works”. And then he sort of forgot and went off and did a concert tour and came back for the next episode, and he was still “Manson." We had to remind him of the character he’d created in the first episode and he’d go “Oh, yeah” and he’d be back in the groove of it. But he’s really good.

After speaking to this amazing cast, it only made me more excited to see what is yet to come in the next few weeks when “Sons of Anarchy” premieres. It also helped feed my desire to revisit the last season, which left me for an emotional wreck. Thankfully, you can watch Season 6 as well before September 9th with today’s home video release which you can order here, and in my humble opinion, it is a must.

Keep your Harley revved up, as we here at JoBlo.com have more to come from our “Sons of Anarchy” set visit when we talk with both Charlie Hunnam and Katey Sagal. Keep your eyes open as we reveal more about Gemma and Jax and just how deeply wounded their characters are after last season’s shocking finale.

Extra Tidbit: Which is your favorite season of Sons?
Source: JoBlo.com

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4:03PM on 08/26/2014
One of my favorite shows ever. I know the last season will deliver. Can't wait.
One of my favorite shows ever. I know the last season will deliver. Can't wait.
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1:29PM on 08/26/2014
Good to see a piece on here about SOA!
Good to see a piece on here about SOA!
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5:58AM on 08/26/2014
Between this and learning to motion-capture perform as an ape, JimmyO gets all the cool assignments.
Between this and learning to motion-capture perform as an ape, JimmyO gets all the cool assignments.
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2:29AM on 08/26/2014
Man, I can't wait for the season to start. One of the best shows on TV.
Man, I can't wait for the season to start. One of the best shows on TV.
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