Interview: Kurt Sutter Talks ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and How He Lets an Actor Know They’ve Been Killed Off (video)
I think Kurt Sutter belongs on the Mt. Rushmore of Television Creators/Showrunners. And yes, there should be a Mt. Rushmore for these guys.
He’s got a singular vision for Sons of Anarchy and holy crap is that vision perfect. In all of it’s 5 seasons, the show hasn’t suffered in quality or story and that is, I think, monumental. Look at all of your favorite series… at least one or two of them has suffered a season that was its low point. Not Sons.
Season six premieres soon and Sutter was at Comic-Con to talk about the upcoming season. In this roundtable interview, he talks about the death of Opie, his ritual of letting an actor know their character is getting knocked off, his writing process and his most creative time of day.
For the full interview, check out the video below.
Sons of Anarchy premieres on September 10th at 10pm on FX
The game changer in Season 5 was Opie’s death. Was it hard to decide to go that way?
Kurt Sutter: I mean it was difficult in terms of emotionally because I love the actor and I love the character, but I felt like it was the right time for that character, you know? I felt like it was organic to the series, to the show, and to that character. It wasn’t a difficult creative choice; it was a difficult personal choice if that makes sense.
Was there a farewell ritual that you did with him?
Kurt: Sutter Uh, yeah we do. After I kill people on the show I take them out to dinner.
So if you get a dinner invitation it’s a bad thing?
Kurt Sutter: Yeah, yeah. If you get a dinner party invitation to my house it’s not a good thing.
When you’re writing the show do you get emotional?
Kurt Sutter: Oh, yeah. While I’m writing?
Kurt: All the time. I think that’s part of my process, it’s why I write, you know, kind of need to be alone. Whenever I write I act out all the scenes.
Kurt: It’s all part of the process, yeah, yeah, so. I mean not, I don’t stage them, but you know I need to hear them. You know what I mean?
So, you’re kind of talking as you’re writing?
Kurt: Yeah, yeah, and it’s part of the fun for me, when I get into it, and I’m in the process of doing it is hearing the voices and hearing the dialogue unfold.
Do you have a creative time of day that want to write?
Kurt: Uh, you know I tend to do a lot of rewriting in the morning, when I’m sort of, you know, awake, and then I tend to do more story breaking and creative stuff at night. That just sort of seems to be what’s going on with me right now, so.
What is on your Tivo?
Kurt: Oh, so many shows. I’m about a season and a half behind on Mad Men; I’m about two seasons behind on Breaking Bad. The only show that I watch, usually as it airs is Boardwalk Empire. And I think because it’s removed enough from my show that I don’t ever, you know it just feels like a completely different world, so it’s easy for me to watch.
Are you going into season six where you wanted to be in season six? And have things changed drastically from where you thought it might have gone when you started?
Kurt: My mile markers for each season are pretty vague and I find that the looser I am with those mile markers the better the seasons are, you know?
But I do have a sense of where I want it to end and how I want it to end. So at the end of each season, I kind of have a sense of where I want it to end and then the beginning of each season where I want it to begin. So then it’s just really about how do we get there, what’s the most creative and most original way to get there. So I say yes, in terms of I think we’re on track to do all that, and it is definitely different because I’ve realized that it’s better if it’s different.