SONS OF ANARCHY Interview with Ron Perlman

     September 8, 2009


During my “Sons of Anarchy” set visit, I had the opportunity to participate in roundtable interviews with members of the cast.  The legendary Ron Perlman talked to us about not really getting into the social aspects of the show, getting in touch with his character (Clay), and talked a little bit about the possibility of him appearing in Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Hobbit”.  Check it out after the jump.

So at the end of last season, Clay found himself with a club that was beginning to fracture and finds himself in the crosshairs of the federal government in a big sort of way.  What’s in store for Clay in Season 2?

Ron Perlman: We’re going to find out what he’s made of, and whether or not he answers the call of duty.  How he answers it will determine his leadership style.  He’s going to go head to head with the only person who thinks he knows what exactly went down, and that’s the Vice President, Jax.  So that plays itself out almost throughout the entire season.

How do you think Clay’s age is going to affect his status?  We’ve seen him start to have some arthritis, and how will that affect some of the greater physical issues he faces?

sons_of_anarchy_tv_show_image_ron_perlman_02.jpgRP: Clay has two things going for him that kind of trump all things physical and temporal: and that’s his ego and his vanity.  He forces himself to hold on to everything that he spent his whole life building up for himself, and part of the DNA of bikers in general is their desire to remain forever young and piss in the winds of time and reality and so that’s another one of the beautiful colors of exploring this particular brand of subculture is you get to see how they are behaviorally and explore what makes them tick.

How is this role different than any you’ve played in the past?

RP: I’ve never played a person who didn’t have a sense of humor about himself until I played Clay.  It’s not that he doesn’t have a sense of humor, it’s just that he doesn’t have one about himself.  Every other character I’ve played has the ability to see from the other persons point of view.  This guy doesn’t.  It’s his way or the highway, and I’ve never played anybody who was quite so single-minded.

Can you talk about some of the other antagonistic groups that are going to be coming in?

RP: Yeah, in the very first episode we meet Ethan Zobell, who represents the League of American Nationalist, which is a separatist group.  But all of his members are white, and they’re an Aryan group as well as a separatist group.  And they are really formidable, and he’s brilliant, and his goal is to take us out.

Can you talk about the change in dynamic in adding Adam Arkin and Henry Rollins to the cast?

RP: Yeah, I think we’re painting on a slightly larger canvas.  Rather than just deal with other clubs, we’re going against much larger conceptual enemies, and it’s forcing us to polish up what we do and what we have going for us in order to keep our heads above water, because they keep beating us.  They’re epic, they’re that epic, and it’s a mythic thing.  Yeah, I think the second season is much more interconnected, taking place in a compressed, short period of time.  I think before we had some one-offs, but if you watch one episode of this season, you’ve got to see them all.

Some of the other cast members were telling us about the reactions they’ve gotten from real motorcycle gangs.  Can you tell us what reactions you’ve gotten?

RP: I live in a bubble.  You know, I don’t read the blogs, or go on the internet, and I really just don’t know what people are saying because, well I guess I’m afraid to.  Guillermo Del Toro told me when we were on the set of “Hellboy II”, he said “You are a fucking idiot man, you’ve got to go on the blogs.  They love you man, they fucking love you! It’s a fucking love fest man, you don’t know what you’re missing!” So the next morning I went on the “Hellboy II” blog with my cup of coffee, you know, I’m just trying to wake up, and I see two comments.  The first one says “Ron Perlman is a big fat fuck who has no talent”, and the second says “We waited all these years to have our beloved Hellboy get a movie and we ended up with this second rate character actor”, and I said, “Thank you, Guillermo, but I think I’ll stick with being stupid.”  So yeah, I don’t know what they’re saying.  I go home to my family and try to rise to the beautiful bounty that has been placed in front of me by the wonderful Kurt Sutter.  I never felt that what other people thought helped me, it really just served as a distraction.  I’m not saying it’s the right way or the wrong way to go about it, but I’m a little superstitious about it.

So Del Toro wants you for his “The Hobbit” movies.

RP: Did he say that?

He did say that.   Does this mean you haven’t talked to him about it?

RP: Well that’s very nice of him.  I haven’t talked very much to Guillermo recently, I did the audiobook for “The Strain”, which is the book he put out and, I don’t even know whether or not he liked it because he’s been so busy with these two “Hobbit” movies.  If that was able to happen, and if that’s what Guillermo wants, then that would be nice.  Because a day on the set with Guillermo Del Toro is a state of grace.

Did you get a special bike like the other guys did?

RP:I did not get a bike, because I’m not a social rider.  Strictly professional.