To premiere a scene from Season 4, showcasing the gang’s release from a 14-month prison stint following the aftermath of last season’s finale, the hit FX drama Sons of Anarchy got to make their Hall H debut at Comic-Con. Prior to the panel, co-stars Charlie Hunnam and Ron Perlman sat down for a roundtable with some press to hint at what fans can expect for the upcoming season.
During the interview, the actors explained how Charming is a very different place with a new mayor and sheriff, how that will affect SAMCRO and their vision for their town, that 14 months of prison has brought Jax and Clay closer together, that Jax (Hunnam) will struggle with whether or not to stay in the club while Clay (Perlman) will do everything with a greater sense of urgency and desperation, and how Season 4 will focus on the internal world of the Sons. Hunnam also talked about what led him to sign on for the sci-fi film Pacific Rim (due in 2013), how he thinks Guillermo del Toro is one of the best filmmakers in the world, and how lucky it was that the film will shoot during hiatus for the show. Check out what they had to say after the jump:
CHARLIE HUNNAM: I think for me, in Season 3, having my immediate family – my baby – being compromised, and then having to deal with all of that and never really having time to think about what the repercussions could have been, or the negative outcome could have been, and then going to prison and having to sit there for 14 months and think about nothing but that, just being in the club has become harder for Jax. The big struggle he goes through this season is just deciding whether he wants to stay or not.
RON PERLMAN: For me, the fact that Clay goes and does almost a year and a half inside, at a point in his life where time is so precious and, with every passing day, he’s getting closer and closer to the end game, he’s literally losing his grasp. He’s been losing his grasp because of the arthritis, from the get-go, but he’s running out of time. Everything that he does, he does with a greater sense of urgency and almost desperation. That’s a very uncomfortable place for Ron, the actor who’s having to play these scenes, to be. That’s the most exciting part of it. I don’t ever want to be comfortable with anything I’m doing. It’s always best when it’s challenging and when the reach is beyond the grasp.
Are Clay and Jax in a better place, after having gone through 14 months in prison together?
HUNNAM: Yeah, they definitely are closer, I think. They had become closer, even last season. Once Abel got taken, any internal beefs just got all put to bed until we dealt with the greater problem. And then, going to prison was kind of a continuation of that. It’s not to say that it’s going to stay rosy forever because I think there’s a big, big clash on the horizon, but for now, we’re playing pretty nice.
PERLMAN: Whenever there’s an external threat to the club, then all of the internal, philosophical differences get shelved, but we’re always aware that they’re just shelved. They’re not resolved and they will, at some point, resolve themselves, once we get to the point where we can turn out attention to them, or they just grow, to the point where they’re unavoidable to distract oneself from.
HUNNAM: Yeah, we don’t like them.
PERLMAN: And, they don’t like us. We’ve got a new mayor, and we have a sheriff who is brand new, who we’ve not met. We know the mayor and we hate this guy. He’s got a vision that’s purely corporate and mercenary, whereas ours is more grounded in some philosophical vision of what’s best for this town to maintain its purity and stay old school, so that people are on a first-name basis with everyone in the community, and everybody knows everybody and can depend on everybody, like old school America. That’s always been the Sons’ vision for Charming. This guy just wants to turn it into a development, where rich people come in and buy property, and to hell with what direction the town takes philosophically. That’s a big, big theme in Season 4. It’s not the only theme, but it’s a big one.
How does Danny Trejo fit in this season?
PERLMAN: We can’t really say, but you know that shit’s gonna fly.
So, it’s an adversarial relationship?
PERLMAN: Yeah. He’s actually there to shoot Machete 2, so we’re helping him along with film permits and parking for the crew.
Charlie, what’s it going to be like for Jax to come home to his family and Tara (Maggie Siff)?
HUNNAM: He really gets some time to think, while he’s in prison, about where his priorities lie, and I think the huge epiphany is that his family is far more important to him than the club, which I think surprises even him. That decision has to be made. He realizes he can’t keep going through, just trying to do the right thing for everyone. He’s got to make a decision, and it’s going to be a difficult decision to make. Not everyone is going to like it. But, I think he realizes that his two children are the most important thing to him and he’ll do anything to protect them. That’s really a lot of what he goes through this season, and the fall-out of some of the decisions he makes.
HUNNAM: The thing that’s so fascinating about these motorcycle clubs is they’re giant international entities. They’re not just in little towns in America. In my hometown of Newcastle upon Tyne in England, we have a massive motorcycle club that are a charter of a big American club. They’re all over. And through my baby being taken and us having to pursue him, we got to explore a little bit of the bigger scope of the clubs, which for me and my interest in this world, was fascinating. I want to know, as an audience member, as much of the nuts and bolts and day-to-day gritty reality of what this world is as possible, and we explored a lot of that. For me, that was the most exciting thing about Season 3.
So, Season 4 is back to being focused on Charming and the world of the Sons there?
PERLMAN: We’re in our world, but in a world that we’re losing control over. We’re being blamed for all of the ills of Charming, of which there really aren’t that many. It’s pretty much a publicity hype. They’ve managed to invoke a lot of fear in the inhabitants of the town, that is unfounded. They’re using the club as a scapegoat for all the things that are wrong in Charming, so that they can change it to something that’s much more mercenary and corporate and has to do with people’s profits. Does that sound familiar to you? Everywhere you look in America right now, this is the discussion.
You’ve both talked about wanting to do challenging work, and doing such strong work on this show must raise that bar for you, as far as the projects you want to take on outside of the show. So, considering that, what was it about Pacific Rim that made you want to do that and what is it about Guillermo del Toro that makes you want to be involved with that project?
HUNNAM: As an actor, or anybody as a human being, I feel like one wants to spend one’s time doing something significant ‘cause what’s the alternative? Just spend your life wasting your time? It always seemed to me like it was a significant thing to do with one’s life to be an actor ‘cause I love movies and I felt like, not to be grandiose about it, but there is something important about film with the function it provides to general society. Now that I’m involved in it, that’s just heightened a little bit. I only want to make as good a product as possible in film, and Guillermo is one of the best filmmakers in the world. He approached me. I knew nothing about it. He asked me to come up to his house and take a meeting with him. I’d met Guillermo a few times, but he’d known my work. He watches Ron on Sons of Anarchy, so he knew my work from there, and just hinted that he was considering hiring me for a movie, if I wanted to do it, and I said, “Fuckin’ where do I sign?” I didn’t read a script. I didn’t know anything about it. It was just the fact that it was Guillermo. I think the guy can do no wrong. Normally, I’ll read the script 25 times before I’ll even take a meeting with the director. With him, it was just a different process. I’d do anything for him.
Do you have to change your look for the film?
HUNNAM: I don’t have to change my look.
How will the filming work into your Sons of Anarchy schedule?
HUNNAM: It just ended up working out. Had it not worked out, there would have been nothing that we could have done about it. But, it did happen to work out that Guillermo wants to shoot his film exactly when our hiatus is, so I get to go do it.