'Sons of Anarchy' season 2 review; Henry Rollins interview
By April MacIntyre Sep 8, 2009, 0:55 GMT
08/23/2009 - Henry Rollins - FX\'s "Sons Of Anarchy" Season 2 Premiere Screening - Arrivals - Paramount Theater - Los Angeles, CA. USA © Albert L. Ortega / PR Photos
The art of keeping secrets defines the new season of FX's brilliant, "Sons of Anarchy."
Everyone seems to have one in Charming these days, and the premiere episode contains a gut punch that comes out of left field.
No spoilers here. But if you are a fan as I am, be prepared to be drawn in to one hell of a ride for the rest of the run.
"Sons of Anarchy" is showrunner Kurt Sutter's Shakespearean-tinged tale of small Northern California town and a mother who knows best, played by his wife Katey Sagal, who was given a character befitting of her talent. She fills those shoes well.
Her Gemma is still the hub of the action, a fact that does not escape newcomer Ethan Zobelle (Adam Arkin), a white separatist who has selected Charming as his next spoke in his Utopian society wheel. His calculations and underestimation of Gemma's strength of will is the grease that catches this sophomore season of outlaw bikers aflame.
The series begins again this Tuesday, September 8th on FX.
Sutter has done a phenomenal job in giving every character a fleshing out, more meat, and fans of Kim Coates (Tig) will love how this bad boy continues to navigate in the SAMCRO tale. Charlie Hunnam's Jax is certainly not hard on the eyes, but Coates' wild-eyed charismatic Tig is my favorite club member, hands down.
Make no mistake about the core idea of Sutter's SOA: The love of The Brotherhood trumps all.
The testosterone-marinated saga continues with Mark Boone Junior's Bobby, out of jail and landing a gig that reveals an interesting back-story on him; Tommy Flanagan's Chibs is given more attention by the writers; Ryan Hurst's tortured Opie is trying to heal and adheres himself to the only glue that keeps him together; his father, William Lucking as Piney, knows too much and wavers between a club member's loyalty and a father's pain.
Maggie Siff's Tara gets to exert some ballsy moves; Dayton Callie's Chief Wayne's history with Gemma is revealed and Tayler Sheridan's Hale is caught between family and his conscience.
Sutter manages to weave several story lines deftly to keep the action tight, and trust me, you will be on the edge of your seat this entire season.
For the uninitiated who are not familiar with this series, "Sons of Anarchy" season one is out now on DVD, please make an effort to see it. The premise centers on a Northern California motorcycle club founded by Jax's deceased dad John Teller, killed mysteriously. His son is Jackson "Jax" Teller (Charlie Hunnam), still guided in the club by mother Gemma (Sagal), and the man she married after Jax's father John died, Clarence "Clay" Morrow (Ron Perlman), the current leader of Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original (often referred to as "SAMCRO"). The story is a tug of war between Teller's ideals, passed on to Jax via his diary, and Clay's (and Gemma's) vision of the club, much more criminal in nature.
The new season brings Adam Arkin to town as Ethan, the educated, urbane white separatist armed with muscle, led by his right-hand AJ Weston (Henry Rollins) who together work their influence and intimidation in carefully measured steps.
Rollins is a man of many talents, and if one word could be used to describe him, I would choose "effective." He brings an understated ferocity to Ethan's henchman, AJ, the liaison between the Aryan Brotherhood and the suits of white hate. His performance as this villain is outstanding work on his part.
Rollins lately has been a wandering soul, visiting other countries and documenting his politically-tinged travels on IFC, and continuing to write (he also owns a publishing company, 2.13.61), he continues his spoken word performances and has a weekly radio show on KCRW in Los Angeles.
Bravo to FX, Sutter and the Linsons (producers) for seeing the potential in Henry to deliver a consummate badass to the sleepy hamlet. Even Darby, the town hater, rubs AJ the wrong way.
"Sons of Anarchy" was voted as Monsters and Critics best smallscreen series of 2008. It is poised to take the honor once again for 2009. This is the TV we have all been waiting for to return.
Henry Rollins spoke to Monsters and Critics about the new season of "Sons of Anarchy" and his character, AJ Weston:
Henry, you really seem to revel in playing this highly disciplined villain. This newcomer to Charming is the polar opposite of Henry Rollins the artist, but tell me what overlaps and commonality you have instilled in this character with your own nature?
Henry Rollins: Weston gets the job done with a military sense of efficency. That is the way I approach many tasks that I have to deal with. With the workload I have given myself, it's the best way for me to complete everything.
Your physical transformation is noted, and when I observed your work on the IFC series where you went to Northern Ireland and other locales, you had a more lithe, yoga lean physique that you previously shared was due to a more vegan diet you adopted the past ten years. Tell me what your training and changes entailed when you signed on for this role?
Henry Rollins: I was asked if I could put on some more muscle for the part. I upped the daily caloric intake and lifting poundage.
Hopefully I got the size they were looking for. I don't train like that anymore, it's hard on the frame and I don't really need the mass.
At the TCA's, you shared that the cast and crew were exceedingly kind and talented. Whose performances within this series have impressed you the most, and which particular scenes were the hardest for you to shoot personally in this complex second season?
Henry Rollins: I think that all of the cast are very talented.
Charlie Hunnam and Ryan Hurst stand out in my mind as being exceptionally impressive. The hardest scene for me was the assault scene in episode one. It was very important to the plot, but it was a relief when it was behind me.
It was not an enjoyable experience.
Will your character have more curt power struggle exchanges or face-offs with Darby, the reigning Charming supremacist?
Henry Rollins: Darby and Weston don't like each other and it's a small town, so there may be some future friction, you never know.
The tattoos you have, which are yours, and which are transfers applied by the makeup department? The one on your lower neck, what does it symbolize?
Henry Rollins: Only one tattoo is applied to me for the part.
It's the life rune at the base of my neck. Here's an explanation: http://www.adl.org/hate_symbols/groups_national_alliance.asp.
How long do we get the pleasure of AJ Weston this season, will he remain in Charming until season three?
Henry Rollins: The lifespan of AJ Weston is not in my hands.