Bad ass bikers are back on screen in the Middle East
Imagine if The Sopranos rode bikes and set up shop in America. What you get is a similarly violent, vigilante motorcycle brotherhood. Cue: the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original Chapter, who take the law into their own hands in a town in California. When people have something to fix they don’t go to the police they go to SAMCRO, and the club’s members are treated like modern-day Robin Hoods (albeit the greasy variety). Somewhere along the line, however, they’ve ended up more like The Sopranos, as they go about performing an extreme version of a citizen’s arrest: punching, beating up and killing offenders. A series that is not just surface deep, complex and emotional undertones make for a can’t-turn-off show. Back for a third season, we catch up with the foxy older lady mum character Gemma Teller-Morrow, played by Katey Sagal for the inside track.
After such a long, successful career, are you still hungry for acting jobs, or can you take it or leave it?
I’m grateful that I’m employed. Growing up around it I watched my dad go through the ups and downs of the business. As a kid we moved a lot, it was based on if he was working or not, so I saw that it’s hard work to get, and it’s great when you get it. I feel every time I have a job that I’m mostly just grateful that I’m getting to do what I like to do. That in itself is an awesome thing; I don’t think a lot of people have that.
Is it easy to embody the character Gemma Teller?
The stretch with her is she’s very different from me. Some of her base instincts are similar to mine – I have three children and you don’t want to cross my kids – but she comes from such a different headspace and I guess my biggest challenge is to constantly remind myself we are two different people. I always have to realise her responses are not the same as my responses would be to a situation.
And where did the chemistry between you and Ron Perlman come from? We instantly had great chemistry, I felt like he was the perfect guy for that part. We have a great working relationship as does everybody on the show. The guys all kind of get along as if they were in a real club and us girls kind of filter in and out but we’re always around. Ron is one of the guys, but he definitely has a leadership position.
Where is your character heading in the third season? Well, as we left her, she was on the run after having gotten retribution for something she had felt very close to her. She felt very good about that, I think, for about 10 minutes. Then, being on the run, what you find is Gemma away from her family, who she loves more than anything and then she is on her own. She struggles with that and, ultimately, as we know, Hal Holbrook is in the show and she ends up finding her way to her parents’ house. We’ll find out a lot more about Gemma’s history and the history of the club as the whole season unfolds. What’s going on in Charming [the fictional town in the series] is, of course, the baby has been abducted and everybody is upset.
How immersed is your husband, and the creator of the show, in the motorcycle club world? Well, he’s not really immersed in it. He is now very familiar with it, and has made these contacts through his research. Before he began the project he wasn’t really familiar with the world, but as any good writer would do he did a lot of research. So he went and introduced himself at the beginning. But now that community has really embraced the show, I know Sonny called him and invited us over. I was working, so I couldn’t go to his birthday party, but it really was a kind of an honour to be included.
With so many tough issues presented on the show, what kind of positive and negative feedback have you received? I think mostly positive. I’m sure there are negatives. I’m sure there are people that think it’s too violent. Maybe I’m just not paying attention to any negative feedback.