Q & A: Sons of Anarchy’s Christopher Douglas Reed: “I’ve been very fortunate because this was my first job in television”
Christopher Douglas Reed plays “Filthy Phil,” on the FX series, Sons of Anarchy. Chris got his start in San Diego in the La Jolla Playhouse’s production of Tobacco Road. From there, he got an agent and a year and a half later and a lot of driving, he finally booked something: a commercial for Sprint. “And a few months after that, I got Sons,” he said.
His character on Sons is gaining steam this season and I got a chance to talk to him about his audition for the show, working with the cast and how he crashed on Charlie Hunnam’s place because he hadn’t moved to LA yet.
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Sons of Anarchy airs on Tuesdays at 10pm on FX
What has this role done for your confidence as an actor?
Christopher Douglas Reed: Well, a ton, actually. It’s been extremely amazing, and I’ve been very fortunate because this was my first job in television. I had done professional theater before but never anything in front of the camera.
And the role started off as just somebody who was around and being introduced to the club and being introduced to the viewers and it’s kind of grown to what we got to see last night. It was its biggest exposure, so it’s been really great. I haven’t had to do anything really incredible or anything extremely challenging until last night.
And it’s just been a blast being able to hang around set, being able to learn from the folks like Ron Perlman, Kim Coates and Charlie Hunnam. It’s just been fantastic and my confidence level has risen pretty much with every episode.
How has things changed for you since you got the show?
Christopher Douglas Reed: That’s a difficult question because it’s changed in a lot of ways. For instance, I was born and raised in San Diego—just moved to Los Angeles and probably wouldn’t have done that without Sons of Anarchy. And this past season, I was really fortunate and did some work on some other TV programs that I’m not sure without the Sons on the résumé I would have gotten. So, it’s been a lot of things, and just the whole experience has been so fantastic. It’s hard to list all the ways that my life’s changed, but it’s definitely been a significant upswing.
I’ve talked to a few people from Sons of Anarchy and the cast has always touched upon the chemistry between the actors on and off set. From your perspective, is that true?
Christopher Douglas Reed: Yes. It kind of does. When I first got on set—like, it was my first TV job, so there’s a little bit of apprehension there. And the first thing I filmed was the prospects getting brought into the clubhouse and then into the chapel and receiving their cuts.
And that’s just an ominous moment I’d imagine for anybody who’s trying to get patched in. And it definitely helped feed what was going on in terms of my real life, in that I’m a new guy coming in and everybody had been on set for three seasons, so everybody’s already built up certain measure of things. But the guys were so great.
Charlie Hunnam, for instance, within a week, gave me a place to stay because I didn’t live LA at the time. And they’ve all been extremely generous, and they’ve all been extremely kind in their support. And it’s true. There’s just a definite camaraderie on that show amongst the boys that makes it unique from what I’ve seen in other jobs I’ve done and on other shows. It really transfers over to the screen. We all care about each other. We all have a blast going to work and I think that shows.
How do you go from living in San Diego to working on Sons of Anarchy. Were you driving back and forth for auditions a lot?
Christopher Douglas Reed: Yes. It was a lot of driving up. It took me about—I did a professional play at La Jolla Playhouse, which is one of the country’s best regional theaters.
Christopher Douglas Reed: Tobacco Road. I played the role of a glorious Georgia cracker, and it was a blast. And from there, I got an agent, took me about a year, year and a half to book any sort of job. I just did a Sprint commercial. And then, a few months after that, I got the Sons gig.
And it was just a lot of driving, lot of keep going out for calls and doing the thing. It’s something where you’ve got to just keep planting the seeds, and finally I got really lucky with Sons. And Wendy O’Brien, who is the casting director on it, is one of my favorite people in this town. She’s always been great to me.
And we went from there, got into a—I actually auditioned for a smaller role at first. I auditioned for the role of head redneck in last season’s episode four, who if you remember, he was the guy that “Piney” hit in the fact with a shotgun, which I’m sure that was a blast, but I was really fortunate when they told me it was for “Filthy Phil.”
When you’re not working on the show are you auditioning for other things? Are you going out a lot?
Christopher Douglas Reed: Yes, absolutely. Very much just working and trying to keep doing more stuff. I go out. I’m not your Hollywood guy. I’m not 180 pounds and 6 foot. So, I don’t go out a ton, like some of my other friends who go out six, seven times a week because there are girls for them everywhere, but I’m fortunate in that I’m not that type.
And when I do get to go out, it’s a more limited amount of people in the room. And I actually know a few of the guys I audition with all the time. It’s a small community as it were. And so, yes, I just go out as much as I can when we’re not working. I love being on the Sons set because it is a measure of comfort that I’m going to be there for at least a few weeks during the season.