Sons of Anarchy vixens Winter Ave Zoli and Kristen Renton interview

Sons of Anarchy's sexy ladies Winter Ave Zoli and Kristen Renton spoke to journalists ahead of the explosive episode 6/S4 in FX's number one series.

Both ladies portray porn girls from the late LuAnne's Cara Cara days. Zoli's Lyla is a 'Sadie Sadie married lady' now to SAMCRO member Opie, and Renton, well, not so much. She's a homewrecker, heartbreaker type.

"Sons of Anarchy" airs Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only on FX. 

We spoke to the women (along with several online journalists) regarding the upcoming major dramatic arcs for their characters.

Monsters and Critics: Full disclosure, I’ve seen next week’s episode so no spoilers, but I know what happens, and my question for Kristen is, have you had conversations with Kurt Sutter that your character somehow will have some sort of a redemptive moment.  She’s always been the bad girl, will she ever see the light, or is she being run off, if you can elaborate on where your character is going for the fans?

K. Renton: Good question.  I have not spoken to Kurt about what will be transpiring later on in the coming seasons or anything like that.  “Ima,” I feel like she’s the main bad girl of this show and I don’t think that he’s going to change that.  I think he’s going to keep her there stirring the pot, causing chaos, and it makes for a more interesting character, in my opinion. 

I love playing the bad girl.  I think she’s a lot more fun to play than a character like “Tara,” where she’s nice and you’re rooting for her.  Everybody loves to hate “Ima,” so I think we’re going to keep it on that path and see what other trouble she can get into. 

M&C:  Winter, what about your character?  You’re now a married lady, old lady ..., can you give us any indication around where you’re going to take “Lyla,” she and Opie are obviously at crisis.

W. Zoli “Lyla” is basically dealing with this new relationship, this new married life, and sort of jumping into a relationship that went really fast.  And I think both her and the “Opie” character are like, “now what”.  Obviously she has this secret that she’s been holding on to, which is the abortion she had last season, so that comes to a head in this season and then it’s just basically then dealing with how they’re dealing with the relationship at this point.  Yes, they have a lot to sort out this season. My question is to both of you, what do you guys like most about the season both in the storyline and in your character in particular?

W. Zoli Sure.  What I like a lot about this season is that it’s dealing more on a personal level with all of the characters and delving into relationships and the history of the relationships and the past of the club, and a lot of things come to a head.  So it reveals a lot of information this season about the characters and the club.  About my character in particular, I like that things are coming to a head for her and “Opie” and it’s showing more of “Lyla’s” character in this season and situations come up that force her and “Opie” to deal with the things in their life.  So, take it away, Kristen.

K. Renton Fabulous.  I agree with what Winter says.  This season is a very relationship driven season and being able to look back into the past of how the club started and where everybody came from and the different relationships and dynamics that come into play with the history of the club, where everybody is now, even seeing the relationship between “Gemma” and “Clay” start to, I don’t want to say deteriorate, but start to be really tested and all the lying and deceit, I think is a very interesting, juicy creative path that they’re going down.  For my character in particular I just like that she just doesn’t give up.  She’s coming back and she won’t take no for an answer and she’s I think gone a little over to the dark side.  She’s now carrying a gun and she’s gone a little batty.  But she’s determined and you’ve got to appreciate a girl with determination for sure. Do you agree the women keep this story interesting?

K. Renton Well, I was just going to say that it’s hard not to be as explosive as an action sequence when you’re playing a no-nonsense porn star.  The stuff that’s written for both my character, and I don’t want to speak on her behalf but I feel it’s the same for Winter’s character, “Lyla” as well, we’re given such juicy, amazing material by the writers and by Kurt that it would be hard to muck it up.  And when you’re given something like that the choices that you can make behind the character come so easily, there are so many different ways you can take it, so many different things that you can do, and we have amazing directors on this show that really help with the creative process, so it’s fairly easy to just take it and run with it and really make it something that the fans want to tune in, watch, and stick around and see.  What do you think, Winter?

W. Zoli Yes.  I think that was perfectly said.  To reiterate, yes, we’re running around in our underwear and it’s hard not to draw attention and not to draw interest, let alone the storylines, which are so crazy, and they’re crazy because we’re in this different wild world of the bike gang, of the porn life.  So, yes, it writes itself, it’s such interesting material to work with, and we have great writers that, like Kristen said, give us great scenes to work with.  So yes it’s kind of easy to compete with the rest of the explosive action scenes.

K. Renton Which there have been quite a few this year, and I’m enjoying them.

W. Zoli There have, yes.

Pop Culture Madness: Regarding the script ... are there any challenges?  Were there any difficult scenes that you had to face this season?

W. Zoli Yes.  I can probably guess which Kristen’s is. 

K. Renton  I had to do a scene that will be in the upcoming episode, episode 6, that wasn’t actually as difficult for me as it was for the person that I was shooting it with because it’s very far removed from something that they would ever even fantasize about doing, and it was very difficult for them to allow themselves to physically be that way towards me.  And I’m all about, look, if we’re going to do this let’s jump in, let’s do it.  Let’s make it as real as we possibly can.  Let’s live it.  And so I was game for the scene.  It’s a difficult scene.  It’s a very physical and emotional scene.  But I think it was more difficult for Charlie, actually, than it was for me.  From what I hear it came out amazing, so that’s the most memorable in this season for sure.

W. Zoli For me it’s definitely a scene I just shot with Ryan where we come together after some difficulties and we have a very physical reaction to each other and not in a positive way.  And that was sort of difficult to shoot because it was actually the first time that “Lyla” and “Opie” show this other side of their relationship, of the dysfunction and we see that, wow, it’s not paradise.  It was both very fun to shoot and it was really interesting, different takes.  It was a whole different thing for “Lyla.”

K. Renton For me, Ima as a character is so far removed from my reality, with what she not only does for a living but the way she acts, the way she presents herself, the attitude that she has, but we’ve all known people that have come into our lives that are, whether it be negative or disruptive or just flat out bad people and unfortunately I’ve had quite a few of those in my life, and so I had a lot to draw on when I was introduced to “Ima.”  She’s based off of bits and pieces of different people that have come into my life that I’ve had to deal with, if you will.  And you know what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, so I’ve found myself in a much better place having met these people. 

So for “Ima” she’s a hodge-podge of things that I have seen and gone through and people that I’ve met, and the one thing that I think is the most relatable between me and “Ima” is that we’re both very determined young women.  We both will not accept no for an answer and are very driven and determined and no-nonsense.  But that’s where the similarities end.  I’m much nicer than “Ima.”  I would never steal another woman’s man.  I give her a lot of credit for being strong enough to do the whole porn thing and I think that any woman that is willing to take control of their life and do what they want to do to make their living, I have a lot of respect for women like that.  I personally couldn’t do it, but that doesn’t mean that I look down upon it, and I don’t.  “Ima” and “Lyla” I think are very strong women and I think that both Winter and I are similar in that way.

Media Boulevard: Is it ever hard to leave that on the set for the rest of your day, or does it affect you, just the things that you’ve done or seen on the set?

W. Zoli If I may, actually it takes me about 20 minutes to leave “Lyla,” and that’s probably the process of taking off the hair and the makeup.  Sometimes things do get, especially when they’re highly emotional that can linger with you for a while, but I always actually just feel so happy when I leave set because I just feel so fortunate to be working on such a great show with such great people.  So that’s the only feeling that’s left afterwards is just a sense of joy that I get to go to set and do this job and have this opportunity.  I just feel so fortunate.

K. Renton I completely agree.  It’s an interesting process when you have a character like “Lyla” or “Ima” that so much goes into making her physically, the fake hair, the fake eyelashes, all the makeup, all the little chicken cutlets we put in our bras to make our boobs look bigger, all of it, and so when you’re done for the day and you go back to your trailer it’s almost like a cathartic, taking all of that off you’re peeling off that character. 

And you know what you’re left with is really a bare bones of who you are, as a person you’re sitting there and everything’s gone and you’re like, okay, and that actually helps to leave the character on set because I think Winter will agree that our characters are so far removed from our reality of even just how we dress in day to day life, that it does help for us to be able to take that off and leave that there.  But I also agree with, you leave set and I have a huge smile on my face because I just got to work with the coolest people on the coolest show on television.

W. Zoli Yes.

Media Blvd:  if there was one thing for these characters that you’ve learned or that you’re going to take away with you, what would that be, if anything? 

K. Renton I think that I’m the girl that everybody loves to hate, but I feel like every person has a story and I definitely don’t judge people overtly the way that – I don’t ever think I was fully guilty of that, but you look at somebody like a porn star and you’re like, oh, they must have gotten molested as a child, or they must have had a tough upbringing.  How could they do that for a living?   But everybody has a story and everybody has a reason to be there.  I think that that’s one thing that my character has taught me is you don’t know what that story is, you don’t know what that history is, and how dare you judge until you know.

W. Zoli Yes, I’d have to agree.  I think working on the show definitely opened my eyes to this lifestyle of a porn actress, especially since we do have some actual porn actresses who are extras on the show and you get to know them after working with them for so many seasons. 

And these girls are, they’re just normal girls.  Yes, they’re doing something that is not perceived as something normal or it’s a very different kind of lifestyle and job to have, and I don’t know them that well, I just know their backgrounds, but to sit there and judge them would be completely unfair.  These girls are completely normal, nice girls who are just living their life and I’d say it’s taught me, I would leave “Lyla” knowing that I respect her survival so much, the strength that she has, and what she did to take care of herself and take care of her son, and it’s like she makes it work and I really admire that.  I admire the strength of “Lyla” and the courage.

Further Reading on M&C

Kristen Renton Biography - - Kristen Renton Movies - Winter Ave Zoli Biography - - Winter Ave Zoli Movies -