News Column

Charlie Hunnam on 'Sons of Anarchy': 'The greatest creative experience of my life': TCA 2013

August 2, 2013

YellowBrix

Aug. 02--BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF: When he got the role of "Jax" Teller in "Sons of Anarchy," Charlie Hunnam says, he was at a low point in his career. He was burning to do substantial roles, but every time a movie director considered him a major role, the studio would step in and quash the deal.

"I wasn't a viable enough commodity" to support him being cast in a major movie, is how Hunnam describes the studios' attitude. But then Kurt Sutter offered Hunnam the lead in "Sons of Anarchy," the drama about a California motorcycle club.

As a Hamlet in leather, Hunnam has found what he calls "the greatest creative experience of my life."

In a discussion of the upcoming Season 6 of "Sons of Anarchy" today at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, Hunnam, Sutter and Katey Sagal -- who plays the mother of Hunnam's character and is married to Sutter -- talked about Season 6 of the highest-rated show on the FX cable channel. The new season debuts Sept. 10.

Sutter, who is famous for his colorful personality and willingness to share his opinions, was in fairly low-key form. More than once, he said the violence in the show -- including a particularly upsetting scene in the Season 6 premiere -- isn't gratuitous.

The scene in question, Sutter emphasized, is necessary to set up the third act of "this morality tale we're telling."

Hunnam also talked about becoming a motorcycle-rider in real life. When he first lived in Los Angeles, the England-born Hunnam recalled, the choking traffic was a burden. "It really inhibited my desire to go out in the world," he said. Once he started riding a motorcycle, he felt a sense of liberation.

"You smell the flowers and you smell the garbage and you try not to get killed by a Prius," Hunnam said.

In other news about FX cable shows:

--Longtime FX comedy, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" is moving to a new spinoff channel, FXX, which will also be the new home for such FX series as "The League" and "Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell." And Bell's late-night show is switching from a weekly to five nights a week format.

--"The Bridge": Cast members Diane Kruger, Demian Bichir, Annabeth Gish and Thomas M. Wright were on hand. Kruger and Gish emphasized that for women, cable television is where the good roles are, as compared to movies. Kruger, who is German, said she was initially nervous about playing the role of Sonya, the El Paso detective who has Asperger's.

While TV is full of male characters who are socially challenged or hard to warm up to, Kruger said it's harder for women to be accepted in such roles. Jon Hamm, she said, plays "the most despicable character on television" as the self-absorbed Don Draper in "Mad Men," but viewers love him. It's not the same for a woman, Kruger said.

Bichir and Kruger recounted getting together to talk via Skype early in the process. "There was this beautiful, fantastic woman asking me to Skype with her," Bichir said, sounding like his character on "The Bridge," the charming Marco Ruiz, of the Chihuahua State Police.

Once they finally got the Skype session going, Bichir asked Kruger to stop moving her computer around because it was making him dizzy.

"He was driving me crazy even then," Kruger said, sounding like her work-focused character.

-- Kristi Turnquist

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(c)2013 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)

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