If CHUD Ran the Movies…
September 29, 2011
UNTITLED JON ABRAMS PROJECT #9: See DRIVE Already!
September 29, 2011

Interview: Theo Rossi (Sons of Anarchy)

Theo Rossi is the heart of Sons of Anarchy as Juice, a biker whose sense of loyalty and passion for his Motorcycle Club is enviable. The actor brings a warmth and energy to Juice that keeps him from falling too far into the margins as gritty and great character actors like Kim Coates, Dayton Callie, Mark Boone Junior, and their ilk share the screen. There’s an innocence to Juice though he’s gotten himself in the thick of some nasty business.

Season Four of Sons of Anarchy has so far been terrific, and it has wisely given its smaller characters more to do. The A and B plots have been good but too much Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, Maggie Siff, and Katey Sagal can cheapen the great cadre of performers on the show. This year Rossi is in the midst of a major subplot having found out the truth about his identity and heritage, and what that secret means to the club. I’m a few episodes ahead of broadcast and all I can say regarding Juice’s actions is “Holy Shit”.

Vicious.

I had a chance to be on a call with the man and his bright and approachable presence onscreen ain’t no lie. What a cordial and well spoken dude. Here’s my little snip:

Nick Nunziata: Hey, Theo, how you doing man?

Theo Rossi: Hey, how are you?

Nick Nunziata: Great! I’ve got two quickies for you: The first thing is that “Juice”` has always been, regardless of the creepy and dangerous stuff he’s gotten involved with, he always is kind of like a warm, bright spot. And the darkness that we’re seeing you experience this season and we’ve seen ahead a little bit, some of us, and we know how icky it gets. I just kind of want to get a vibe as to when Kurt broke the news to you about what the story arc was going to be and some of the depths you were going to have to plunge how you reacted to it and how he presented it to you.

Theo Rossi: You know, we have a meeting before the season. Kurt is one of the few show runners that does that, actually sits down and talks to the actor alone and then with all of the other writers and basically tells you what he has in mind and what’s going to go down. You hear it and you, My God, when I heard mine and I knew what was going to happen and I got kind of like a loose kind of thing of what was going to go down, I was so excited and I thought it was brilliant because Juice is this really loveable. I can’t believe how much I’m realizing it more and more after just really seeing people seeing that one scene in episode three. People are up in arms about a lot of different issue just from that one scene.

So, when they see what’s coming, I think that the way Juice handled it, I thought was so brilliant. I really did. And I’m not saying it because it’s me, because I’ve always been a huge fan of this show not even being on it. I’m a huge fan of every single part about it.

So, I just thought this was so brilliant because Juice is such a lovable character that a lot of people relate to. So when everything goes down, when this ball starts rolling, which it already has, I just think it’s going to shock a lot of people and to me, isn’t that the point of storytelling? Isn’t that the point of television and great writing?

Nick Nunziata: Good luck wriggling off that hook. The other thing I was going to say was in reference to the group of characters. I’m a big fan of character actors and I’ve been a fan of Ron Perlman and Kim Coates and Mark Boone Junior and Dayton Callie for a really long time. This show is like their coming out party.

Theo Rossi: 142 movies and it’s you know, something.

Nick Nunziata: Yes, especially Perlman. Yes,  people now know him without make-up on just being. What’s it been like watching these guys get their moment in the sun finally?

Theo Rossi: Well, first of all, Perlman should always have make-up on because, I got to tell you… No, I mean, it’s so great. Like I was just saying to someone else, we’re so close and we hang out constantly and to a point of like people find it very odd when they see us out all the time together, because they don’t understand what’s going on. Especially if we’re on motorcycles and we pull up somewhere, they’re like, “What is happening here?”

I think it’s great. He is, you know, again, another one of my closest friends from the show. Kim and Ron. You actually just named three of my closest friends on the show and I think it’s amazing to them. I think it’s crazy that fans are now just realizing them. But, then if you look at someone like Kim Coates, you realize that he’s been in everything. You look at Perlman, I just read they’re remaking Beauty and the Beast. Look at that; these are the kind of shows he was already on. These are people who have been around.

The greatest thing about this cast is they’re chameleons. Everybody is a chameleon. I mean, gosh, starting at the top, look at Katey, was from Married with Children to this. This is a cast full of chameleons and the greatest actors in the world, the people I respect in the history of acting from the beginning on it has been chameleons and that’s what he’s put—that’s what Kurt has put together here.

Nick Nunziata: What a great way to get your career moving to that direction too. Thanks so much man. We really love what you do.

Theo Rossi Thank you so much.

It’s great that a show like Sons has it in mind to tackle a rather important plot about race and to seamlessly plop it right in the powder keg. If you aren’t watching this yet, why the heck not?

Sons of Anarchy airs Tuesdays at 10pm. Find out more here.