Theo Rossi Sons of Anarchy Interview
What can you tell us about your character’s journey this season?
Theo Rossi: “Nothing. I can’t tell you anything. I’ll tell you this. Season five was super intense for Juice, obviously, with everything with Clay at the end and being really instrumental in setting things up. Everybody reaches a breaking point. I think he just wants acceptance somewhere, in something. I think the question is now that Jax is running the club how does that work out? How does Juice fit into that plan and that situation? It’s a very different club we’re in now, and I think we get to really see that deal with Jax. Is he John Teller? Is he Clay? He wants to wear the crown, but what comes with that and how do we all fit into that? How do we all either respect that, how does it work for us? I think that for me, without saying anything – because I’m sure Kurt [Sutter] could choke me out at any time here – is it’s fascinating.
Every single script reads like a finale. Everything is like, you literally turn that last page and you’re like, ‘What is happening?! How is this all happening in one script? And we have thirteen of these.’ With me, I’ve been really lucky. Really, really, really lucky as this character to start as the funny guy and then to go to this sad, crying clown, to go to what’s going to happen to him, this kind of self-deprecating, ‘I want to kill myself,’ type deal, to now playing an entirely different side. We just really see a whole different side of Juice this year. I’m really excited for everybody to see it.”
Of all the characters, he seems to be the one who’s constantly living in fear. He hides it really well, but how is that to actually wear that mask of fear under the smile all the time?
Theo Rossi: “The clown that’s crying on the inside. I think that’s an extremely hard thing to play in that world. Not as an actor…what I’m saying is in that world, in that violent world that’s been created with Sons of Anarchy, to maintain and navigate in that world as that guy… That’s why I think, like I said, there is that breaking point where everybody has to [figure out] how long can you go on like that without rebelling or losing it? That’s what I’m excited for this year. Kurt’s really, really, really good at knowing exactly what emotion comes from every single thing. There’s always a plan, and that’s what I love. Nothing goes unresolved. Nothing gets left hanging.
A lot of things have changed since Opie died. Everything’s changed for everything, for everybody. For the whole club. For the whole show. It was one of those things where when that happened, it was like a reality check as an actor and as a character. As a character it was, ‘This is a pretty violent world we’re in.’ As an actor it was, ‘We’re not going to run forever, are we?’ This isn’t All My Children, and even that got cancelled. [laughing] Things happen. It’s interesting. I’m pretty excited. Every time we get a script it’s like Christmas. We get excited. Masking fear with excitement, more like.”
Can you tease next season at all, what we’re going to see from you?
Theo Rossi: “I wish I could. I just think that without saying much, it’s funny. It’s going to be here soon enough. It’s so intense. It’s so intense and at the same time there’s so much stuff being resolved, and so much stuff being brought up. It’s a very different world. We’ve got a lot of characters that have been circling with Nero and the Sheriff and Eli, and all these different things, and seeing everybody’s new roles in a way. Things have changed. It’s not the old days with Opie, Piney, Clay at the head of the table and everybody around – and Half Sack. It’s all changed. Watching it change every year is the fun part because it’s always new. It’s always fresh. I think right off the bat you start to see that.”
As Juice sees the changes happening, who does he find himself most aligned with?
Theo Rossi: “That’s what you start to see.”
Does he start to pick a definite side?
Theo Rossi: “He starts making decisions. That’s the best I can say. There’s decisions being made because he can’t float anymore. He can’t wallow any longer. There’s one point or another where survival kicks in.”
Would he be ready to wear this crown if that became the situation?
Theo Rossi: “No! Unstable at best. No, absolutely not! He can barely get up in the morning. He ain’t going to be able to run a club. It’s different roles, different things. There’s soldiers and there’s leaders in this world. Juice is definitely a soldier in every way.”
But if he’s the last man standing…
Theo Rossi: “Imagine?! That would be interesting. [Laughing] My business manager would be happy. We’ll see what happens.”
What do you think the last episode should be?
Theo Rossi: “Abel should be putting on the coat and walking away. No, I don’t know. We think about that, obviously. There’s only one person that knows that, and he’s floating around this room. That’s a really interesting question. I don’t know. Series finales are the hardest thing in the world. I’ve always thought, I’m a huge fan of The Shield. The Shield is my favorite series finale ever, and I’ve seen a few of them now. I thought The Sopranos was pretty good, but not like The Shield. If you’re a fan of The Shield, you see they leave it so ambiguous for Vic Mackey. Where did he go? What did he do? Knowing that [Kurt Sutter] was a part of that makes me feel really comfortable with the way this is going to go. Every season finale has been pretty amazing.
Recently, I do a lot of stuff with the military and the Navy SEALs are down range in Afghanistan and they got all these gifts from Nike and Apple and all that, and the one gift they wanted was from Sons. I’m friends with a lot of the guys, and the one gift they really wanted, I said, ‘What’s your favorite thing?’ and they said, ‘The season three finale, with Stahl and Jimmy O and all that,’ so we sent them the script from season three signed by everybody. They literally have read it like five times. I always think, to me, that was one of the greatest finales we’ve ever had. It just shows that I’m really comfortable with however the series ends.”
Do you find that since the death of Opie and Ryan Hirst leaving the show and now that you have limited time left you’re a little more nervous when you’re reading the script to see who might leave next?
Theo Rossi: “You know, it’s part of this world. It’s what is created. I don’t necessarily get nervous about it. As long as you see me with a Mohawk, I’m all right. [laughing] See me walk in here with a giant Afro, I’m in trouble, all right? Or I’m undercover somewhere in WitPro in Sons of Anarchy. I don’t think like that. I think in the fact of the character and what he does. I’ve never trusted a writer like this, so whatever he does is cool with me. I say that, not because of our friendship, but just because between The Shield, and this, I’m cool. We’re in good hands.”
Would you be making the same choices if you were writing the character?
Theo Rossi: “I could barely write my name. I wish I could write. Would I be making the same choices? I think that I’ve been, again, I’ve been so lucky. I’m one of the few characters that, literally, has gotten to play one of the guys who have been joking around and crying, and suicidal and aggressive, so I’ve been really lucky.”
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