Tara Bennett. Sons of Anarchy: The Official Collector’s Edition. New York: Time Home Entertainment, 2014
The TV series “Sons of Anarchy” arose out of show creator’s Kurt Sutter’s personal interests in motorcycle clubs (MC). While he was never in an MC, he lived on the fringes and was enamored with the MC lifestyle.
Sutter received an MFA from Northern Illinois University and worked on several TV shows. Sutter researched MCs. He wanted a realistic show, Sutter admits “Hamlet” is an inspiration for the series.
Scott Glenn was originally cast as Clay Morrow. glenn did not seem to deliver the dark human that was wanted. His role was recast and the reshot for the pilot with Ron Perlman.
The show was about an MC club started by Vietnam veterans. The club smuggled goods and drugs. A club founder John Teller saw these as acceptable yet found the club losing its moral focus when it began running guns.
Charlie Hunnan identified with his role of Jax Teller, John Teller’s son. Hunnan’s father has forsaken life in a British industrial or mine setting and opted for the criminal life Hunnan acted with an American accent. Hunnan researched the role with an MC members similar to his character,, whose father has been a founding member of his MC club.
Actor Ryan Hurst admits “I auditioned for the show because I wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle. I don’t think I read the entire script.” His character was intended to die at the end of the first season. Her popular performances kept his character alive longer.
Actor Chris Telford was a DJ who face was slashed with a knife in a mugging A friend asked him to join a theater company. He turned to acting.
Actor Kim Coates auditioned for two “Sons of Anarchy” roles. He got neither. He was offered a newly created role. Coates read the role and replied “this is not for me...I have not desire to play a one note dark guy.” Sutter convinced him the role would involved more depth. Coates signed onto the show that night. Coates admits he sometimes struggled with the role, yet realized despite the character’s many weird emotions, he was loyal.
Kurt Sutter told actor Theo Rossi “I don’t know if you’re going to be in one of hundred. I just know I want you on the show.” Rossi accepted.
William Lucking first acted in a biker movie “Hell’s Belles” in 1969. He crushed his leg when his motorcycle went off a bridge while filming “Harold and Maude” He rode a Tri Glide on the series.
Sutter hired himself in a role. It would take an hour of make-up for his character.
Kurt Sutter is friends with actor Ally Walker. The role of Agent June Stahl was written for her.
Rockmond Dunbar’s character was originally planned for one season, He became such a fan favorites his character lasted three seasons.
The production designer Anthony Medina, along with Kurt Sutter, sought authentic looks Medina researched MC clubs,
Director of Photography Paul Maibaum and Executive Producer / Principal Director Paris Barclay planned the cinematography. They sought a “modern day western” feel. People by doorways and background items were frayed. Exteriors had a “bleached, dried-out, dusty look”. Theatrical light was avoided for a realistic feel.
The Principal Director creates a cohesive direction for all Directors. This series was filmed as if it were really happening. Kurt Sutter provided the tone.
The show did not use clothing with advertising. The Sons of Anarchy members wore black. Mayas wore green and blue. Gemma would wear a $5 halter under a $1,500 jacket.
Tattoos were applications.
Exterior shots for the Northern Ireland portion were filmed in Northern Ireland. Local bikes rode in an aerial shot. North Hollywood served as most scenes depicting Northern Ireland.
The show was Bob Thiele Jr.’s first as a music supervisor. He had written before with Katey Sagal, who portrays Gemma and is married to Kurt Sutter. He led an existing band, the Forest Rangers, and used it as a house band. Thiele would send original songs to Sutter. Suter would sometimes add to the songs. Thiele and Sutter never collaborated together simultaneously.
Tammie Baird served as a stunt double for Katey Sagal during Gemma’s rape scene.