Season 6 of SONS OF ANARCHY, the motorcycle club/crime drama created by Kurt Sutter, comes roaring back onto FX this week. Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) is currently running SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Originals). He’s pleased that former SAMCRO chief Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman), who is also Jax’s stepfather, is presently behind bars; unfortunately, Jax’s wife Tara (Maggie Siff) is also in jail.
As for Jax’s mother Gemma Teller Morrow, played by Katey Sagal (who in real life is married to series creator Sutter), she at least begins the season in an uncommonly serene state of mind. While she doesn’t like to see Jax in pain, Gemma doesn’t especially like her daughter-in-law and she’s delighted erstwhile husband Clay is in the slammer. In a conversation at the Television Critics Association press tour, Sagal talks Gemma’s state of mind, her new album and how she’ll feel when SONS OF ANARCHY ends next year.
ASSIGNMENT X: Is part of Gemma’s increased Zen at the start of Season 6 the fact that Clay and Tara are both in jail?
KATEY SAGAL: I think that, and her relationship with Nero [Gemma’s new boyfriend, a pimp played by] Jimmy Smits. He’s a gentler soul than Clay. Even though he’s a badass too, I think that his energy is just not as abrasive as perhaps the cold-bloodedness of what Clay has become in her life. So I think that has opened her up, opened her heart up. Certainly the fact that she’s getting to spend more time with her grandchildren. The timeframe between [Seasons] 5 and 6 is really about three days, so it’s not like she’s moved in and she’s got those kids with her all the time, but there is a certain sense that she’s united with her son, he’s now the president [of SAMCRO] – I mean, these are dreams come true for this woman. There were periods over the last five years where she thought it was all going to just fall away. So she’s just in a more – Zen is a good word. I don’t know how to quite describe it, but that is where she’s at.
AX: How do you feel about Gemma’s costumes?
SAGAL: Are you kidding? What’s better than high heels and leather? I’ll tell you, though, I’m not a high heel person in real life, so sometimes those heels get a little bit jarring. But it is fun – first of all, a good four-inch heel will make most people look fabulous. And I get to wear all black, I get to wear leather, it’s tight, it’s sexy – it’s sort of a call back to a little bit of my youth, I must say.
AX: You have a new album coming out. Are the songs originals?
SAGAL: There are a few original songs on it that I wrote. But it’s covers – usually, my last two records, I wrote almost everything, and this one, I just couldn’t figure out what to write. So I was tired of waiting around for myself, so I just recorded some beautiful songs with Bob Thiele, who produced it – he does all the music on SONS. And I do a duet with Jackson Browne, I do some very obscure covers and then some obvious ones – it’s just really a good record. It’s called COVERED. Hopefully it will be out mid-October and that’s what I’ve been doing on my hiatus. It’s a beautiful record, so I hope that you’ll all write and blog about it.
AX: How much do you think you’re going to miss SONS when it’s gone at the end of Season 7? Are you going to feel like, “Okay, we gave birth to it and it’s out in the world and going to school now”?
SAGAL: You know, I’ve ended these kinds of shows before. And I think because I have, I learned something from it. When MARRIED WITH CHILDREN ended [Sagal starred in the series as Peg Bundy for eleven seasons], I naively didn’t expect the emotional blowback from it. Because it’s like your family – they become your family. So this one, too, I will be sad. I feel, though, that Kurt has a lot of integrity about the story he wants to tell, I feel he’ll end it at the right time, and I feel like it’s just been an amazing experience and it took me to a place in my career where I got to do the kind of work that I’ve been wanting to do, and I’m hoping that that door continues to be open and that more opportunities will come. So I don’t look at it as a bad thing, I look at it as the natural course of things, but it’s been an awesome part.
AX: Are you feeling some of Gemma’s sentiments in real life?
SAGAL: I’m pretty happy – but I don’t know. I think the older I get, the happier I am, actually, and I feel more really happy with my work right now, my children are all in a good place. Last year is the first year my oldest daughter went to college. It was a little jarring for me, but now I’ve settled – I’m in a pretty good place.
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Article: Interview with Katey Sagal on SONS OF ANARCHY Season 6