Sunday, October 12, 2014

34 things you learn on the 'Sons of Anarchy' set

By Mandi Bierly on Oct 10, 2014 at 2:52PM   @ewmandibierly

Spend close to 20 hours on location and set with the cast and crew of Sons of Anarchy, and you learn a few fun facts. EW‘s recent cover story (read it online) reveals some of them: among the objects in Charlie Hunnam’s backpack is a marijuana grinder; Katey Sagal is happy to talk about Justin Theroux’s jogging attire on The Leftovers. Here are 34 other things gleaned from EW‘s September visit.


• When you catch Tommy Flanagan (Chibs) singing “Hurt” on his way in at 6:30 a.m., it’s definitely the Johnny Cash version. “Of course, the Johnny Cash version,” he says later. “I mean Nine Inch Nails, fair enough, they did a great version, but Johnny killed it.”

• Everyone knows the fun begins when Kim Coates (Tig) arrives. On this day, he starts a lively conversation suggesting he’ll wear a Speedo to the show’s premiere screening that weekend. He and Flanagan claim they’ve never worn a Speedo, but Hunnam admits to having donned one as a child.

• The show’s head of makeup, Tracey Anderson, has it out for Abel. She barely lets Hunnam sit down in her chair at 6:50 a.m. before asking him if he thinks Abel is behind something bad in the script they received the previous night.

Anderson: I know he’s psycho. I really want it to be him.

Hunnam: I know you do. (Laughs)

Makeup artist Sabine Taylor: I’m afraid you’re overestimating what a little boy like that is capable of.

Anderson: If he’s a sociopath…

David Labrava (Happy): I think Abel [redacted], but Abel didn’t [redacted].

Anderson: I haven’t liked that kid since day one.

• Anderson holds the speed record for bullet wounds. “I time her,” makeup artist Michelle Garbin says. “One time she did six bullets in six minutes, in a pit, in the middle of the night.” (“I just wanted to get out of the pit,” Anderson says.) After seven seasons on the show, Anderson has grace under pressure: “When I started, I’d read the script and be like, ‘Ohmygod, they’re gonna have a slight cut over their eye.’ I’d get all worried about it. ‘We need them back in the trailer for 20 minutes!’ Now it’s like, ‘Whatever, we’ll just do it on set,'” she says.

• The makeup trailer has a “Blood Wall,” pictured below, which they stopped adding victims to seasons ago. “They would come in and be like, ‘I’m on the wall!’ They’d be so proud. But now it’s too much of a spoiler,” Anderson says. “There’s just too many people in here taking pictures. And people we have come in to work, they’re not caught up to the episodes, so it spoils it for them. They don’t want to see it.”


• Everyone is thrilled that Hunnam got cast as the lead in Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur project. At 7:45 a.m., when members of SAMCRO emerge from the van carrying them from base camp to the ranch house that the club will approach in the first scene of the day, the actors are wearing Burger King crowns. Co-executive producer Charles Murray, who’s directing the episode, made a special trip through the drive-thru for the prank because he’s proud of Hunnam. “I think a lot of people overlook the work because they’re so caught up in how beautiful he is. I don’t know if you’ve seen that Calvin Klein commercial—that’s a good lookin’ boy,” Murray says later laughing. “But that’s the same thing that happened to Paul Newman. I think he’s got a huge future ahead of him. A long, long, sturdy career.”

• Hunnam has a good sense of humor. Not only does he chuckle at his costars shouting that they’re “the king’s bodyguards” while Murray snaps photos, but he also asks if EW would like to have a laugh watching him undergo “nose hair extraction” in the house’s front yard. “That’s the worst part about getting old,” the 34-year-old insists afterward with tears in his eyes.

• The actors are aware that everyone SAMCRO goes up against is an extraordinarily bad shot.
Flanagan: It’s another A-Team moment where there’s a million bullets, and no one gets killed. (Sings A-team theme song) It’s guns like this. Look. (Bends his prop gun) Bendy. We shoot around corners.
Coates: What season was that, two maybe, where we had all the KKK boys and us in a backyard situation. We were 10 yards away from each other and we all went (Makes automatic gun sound), not one of us got hit. We kept going, “Are we whole?” “We’re whole.” “Are we whole?” “We’re whole.” Ridiculous.

• Six weapons firing on set is a slow day. “The gunfire’s actually not that huge today compared to what we usually do. We had an episode where we had like 25 people with full automatic weapons besides another 10 to 20 people with handguns. So it was loud. I think one of my ears still works,” Boyle says. “So come back. We’re gonna have some fun before it’s all said and done. I promise you that.”

• Happy really shouldn’t have a cell signal in this scene. Just saying.

• The name Swayze is “Viking Irish.” Don Swayze, who’s guesting in this episode as the angry redneck shooting at the club, tells the Scottish Flanagan about his ancestry during a break.

• Hunnam still wears Jax’s bullet necklace. Hunnam bends down to pick up a blank shell and asks if you’d like a souvenir. Yes, and you’re going to make a necklace out of it. He pulls Jax’s bullet necklace out of his shirt and notes that it’s missing a couple stones around the diamond-crusted tip.

• The one thing the guys definitely won’t miss about Sons is filming long days in 100 degrees. “We used to call it doing ‘the timber.’ We’d lose a crew member a week from passing out. Boom. Gone,” Coates says. Even Flanagan was sent off to the hospital once to get an IV (“It was the day after the season 3 premiere, I think. I was hung over,” he admits). Umbrella holders try to shield them between takes, but the guys take cover wherever they find it. Since Hunnam was treated for lyme disease last year after an unplanned hike in the Scottish Highlands, he’s hyper aware of “tick-y” areas. You’ll catch him lying down on the couch inside the house, prop gun in hand. Flanagan opts for a leather chair and keeps his weapon on his lap. Coates, meanwhile, stretches out in the bed of the rusted old truck Tig and Happy take cover behind when the bullets fly. Around 4 p.m., the guys watch Hunnam drink a vial of what he later describes as “untreated, unheated ocean water from some f–king kelp forest somewhere.” Actually, it’s something a hot yoga instructor recommended he drink to quickly replenish his body, and he finds it also works when he’s sweating all day in Jax’s cut and working on five hours sleep. (In addition to prepping for today’s scenes, he spent three hours last night doing email interviews, including one for Calvin Klein that asked him to name the sexiest thing about fall.)

• There’s already a reunion in the works.*


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