While Kurt Sutter wasn’t in person at the ATX TV Fesitval in Austin — though he apparently assured the crowd he was allowed in the state of Texas according to Variety — his presence was felt via a FaceTime session during the Sons Of Anarchy directors panel with Paris Barclay and Adam Arkin. And when Sutter is involved and talking frankly, you know you’re usually in for a good time.
While streaming in, Sutter went into detail about the beginnings of Sons Of Anarchy and how FX initially pushed for it to be a different show than what we saw in the final product. As it turns out, Sutter’s stubbornness and the show’s natural progression saved it from becoming some other type of animal:
“Serialized dramas were struggling and there was a mandate to do standalone episodes,” he said. “All I knew how to do was a serialized drama. It was difficult. Then the serialization got so deep by episode five or six, they took the handcuffs off and I got to do what I wanted to do.”
It likely also helped that Sutter’s attitude was as prickly as they come — in the good way. As Variety reports, he explains that the tone for the series was set early on because he part of his natural tone when communicating throughout his career:
“I sent everyone angry emails, that pretty much set the tone for my entire career. It was trial and error, some ideas worked and some didn’t. I tried to surround myself with people who knew more than I did. I don’t think we found the rhythm of the show ’til halfway through the first season.”
A good example of this might be that whole side-trip to Ireland that the Sons ended up taking in season three after the kidnapping of Jax’s son. It just didn’t seem to work and kinda dragged along until the end of the season where everything came together with this perfect finale that made up for any lags in the season. Juice boxes of Jameson whiskey in a drink box, cunning plans executed to perfection, and the cliffhanger keeps the main story chugging forward.
Sometimes things just work out and Sons Of Anarchy was definitely a show that lived by that notion. Let’s hope that The Mayans spin-off can give fans what they want when it finally premieres.