“Sons of Anarchy” is an interesting ensemble in that, when it debuted in 2008, the cast was anchored by Katey Sagal, a sitcom mom from “Married … with Children” and “8 Simple Rules.” Most of the rest of the cast were small, mostly obscure character actors, save for Charlie Hunnam, best known for roles in the little seen “Queer as Folk” and “Undeclared” seven years prior. So it was hard to know if these guys were as “hard” looking as their characters. Not that it matters to the show itself — every member of the cast plays their role perfectly — but it is interesting to see what many of the actors who we first came to know on “Sons of Anarchy” looked like before they adorned their SAMCRO cuts. What I learned is that, perhaps, for a bunch of guys who play outlaws in a motorcycle club, “Sons of Anarchy” boasts more classically trained and stage actors than maybe any other show on television.
Kurt Sutter, the series showrunner, also plays Otto. The truth is, despite a reputation for a foul-mouthed temperament and research he did with an outlaw gang to prepare for the show, I don’t really know much about Sutter before 2002, when he started on “The Shield.” Turns out, he spent a lot of time acting in off-off Broadway productions before taking a teaching gig at The Gately-Poole Acting Studio on Theatre Row and then getting an MFA late in life. He is not, however, a guy you see “cleaned up.” This is as “clean” as Sutter gets.
Katey Sagal, to my surprise, grew up in the industry. Her parents were TV writers and directors, and Sagal herself started out as a back-up singer for the likes of K.I.S.S., Olivia Newton John, and Bob Dylan. This is Katey cleaned up.
Charlie Hunnam is most certainly not Jax Teller. For one, he’s British, and two, he doesn’t keep company with outlaws (close friends include Anne Hathaway, Jamie Bell, and Romola Garai). This is real-life Charlie Hunnam. Goofy fucker, isn’t he?
Kim Coates is Canadian! He began as a Shakespearean actor in Nova Scotia before becoming a prolific character actor (121 credits since 1986).
Mark Boone Junior started acting alongside his good friend Steve Buscemi. He was arrested a couple of years ago for assaulting a police office. I think Mark Boone Junior is a little for real, y’all. This is as cleaned up as he gets, and it’s from a film role.
Tommy Flanagan is Scottish (obviously) and began as a DJ before moving to the stage (another Shakespearean guy) and getting his big break on Braveheart. The scars, by the way, are the result of a mugging. This guy is an impressive actor.
Maggie Siff went to Bryn Mawr and NYU before moving on to the stage (a lot of stage actors here, which speaks well of the talent on display). She had some minor roles on “Nip/Tuck” and “Mad Men” but was fairly unknown before “Sons of Anarchy.” She more closely parallels the doctor version of Tara and not the Old Lady version.
Ron Perlman is a high-fallutin classically trained actor who most people knew before “Sons of Anarchy” thanks to Hellboy and, before that, the TV series “Beauty and the Beast.” Dude has got 182 credits to his name. He’s been thespianin’ it up for decades.
There’s not much out there on Theo Rossi. He went to SUNY Albany, and most of the Google images of him are in “SoA” attire, except this one:
William Lucking is another one of those actors who have been around forever. He’s a acting teacher who co-founded the Santa Paula Theater Center. He’s got 150 credits in his lifetime, and usually plays cops. He’s not exactly the gun-running type.
Dayton Callie has also been around forever, too, but without looking, I probably couldn’t name anything he’s been in other “Deadwood.” I didn’t even know the man was Scottish. There’s little info out there on Callie, except that he’s a Vietnam War vet.
Finally, my favorite: Ryan Hurst, who I had no idea that I knew before “Sons of Anarcy.” But, of course: He was in Remember the Titans. See:
This, too, is Hurst cleaned up.
I think he should probably keep the long hair and beard even after “SoA” goes off the air.