Theo Rossi on ‘Sons of Anarchy’s’ Lack of Emmy Love: ‘We Started Out Kind of Invisible’
\'Sons of Anarchy\' Star Theo Rossi on Juice\'s Shocking Storyline: \'It Was Just Time\'
\'Sons of Anarchy\'s\' Kim Coates, Theo Rossi Tease \'Unpredictable and Absolutely Insane\' Series Ending (Video)
\'Sons of Anarchy\' Star Theo Rossi Talks Juice\'s Fate and His \'Quite Nude\' Final Season
The man who played Juice makes his case for the FX biker drama
“Sons of Anarchy” rode off into the sunset last year amid critical and popular acclaim, drawing more than 9 million viewers with its December swan song.
But in terms of awards recognition, it’s been a different story for the FX biker drama. Over the course of its run, the Kurt Sutter-created series has earned just two Emmy nominations, Outstanding Original Music And Lyrics and Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music categories, winning neither of them.
As Emmy nomination voting draws to a close and voters get one last chance to recognize “Sons,” TheWrap spoke with series star Theo Rossi, who played SAMCRO intelligence officer Juan Carlos “Juice” Ortiz, about the show’s historical lack of Emmy love, and whether that streak could be broken this year.
Also Read: \'Sons of Anarchy\' Star Theo Rossi on Juice\'s Shocking Storyline: \'It Was Just Time\'
TheWrap: What was the toughest thing you had to do this season?
Theo Rossi: Obviously the stuff that Juice got put through at the end would seem like the hardest to do — he’s obviously put in this terrible position and being at the mercy of seven people and this and that. But to me… sometimes the isolation in general of the character. Since Season 4, Juice really entered into an isolation. After trying to hang himself and all that, it became almost like being on a separate show, where I would work with everyone occasionally, but a lot of times I’d be on my own, or I’d be just with Clay, or I’d be just with Gemma, or I’d be with the guys occasionally here and there, but it almost felt like I was on literally a separate show. I’d come in and work, and no one would be there. That would be really more prominent in the final season, but definitely in seasons 4, 5 and 6. The toughest stuff would be just in general for the character and even as an actor, was just having that isolation. While everybody’s out riding motorcycles and doing stuff, Juice was kind of in prison with cockroaches on his arms and stuff like that.
When you’re sitting around a crew and you’re doing things like naked push-ups, and you’re doing things like getting cavity-searched by some giant prison guard and you’re completely naked — that stuff, as weird as it sounds, has to be made funny. And I’m one of those people that I have to laugh about stuff like that. I have to have fun on it. You’re walking around with this little nude sock on you and that’s about it, and you kind of have to make a joke about it. Because it’s like, wow, this is pretty crazy.
How do you feel about Juice’s evolution over the course of the series? He started out almost as comic relief and ended up with an incredibly heavy and tragic storyline.
This is what [series creator] Kurt [Sutter] did so brilliantly with Juice — it was always a step process. It was like an evolution. He wasn’t like the funny guy one minute and then all of a sudden he was in prison with a bunch of guys around him putting him in harm’s way. That step process really started with the revelation of his father’s ethnicity. Once that step started, it was four seasons of getting to that extremely dark place in Season 7. And I think that you started seeing him lose his innocence more and more and more. And I think that’s why people relate to the character so much, because he went on this incredible emotional journey from him being in a diaper in Season 1 and feeding the dogs crank to the positions he was in, in Season 7. I love that guy. I miss Juice. He was truly like an innocent caught in a very dark world.
See video: \'Sons of Anarchy\'s\' Kim Coates, Theo Rossi Tease \'Unpredictable and Absolutely Insane\' Series Ending
Let’s say somebody hasn’t seen “Sons” before. What would you say to get them to watch it?
“Just start watching” — that’s all I tell people. Because once you’ve watched one, you can’t stop watching it. We started that journey in ’08 — I have yet to meet somebody that said, “Oh, yeah, I watched one or two, I wasn’t into it.” Nobody has done that, ever. They’re in once they go in. Once you’re in, you’re in, you can’t get out. You’ve got to watch them all.
I was for a while. The only show that I watch them all right now is “House of Cards.” That’s one of the ones that I’m in on. When I have the time, there are a couple of shows that I’ve been looking to get into. You know what I binge-watch? I binge-watch weird things like “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” with Jerry Seinfeld. I watch every single episode in a row, and I can’t stop watching it.
Besides yourself, who on “Sons” deserves an Emmy and why?
Oh, man — I could go through a lot of people on that. I can make an argument for every single character throughout the years. I think, consistently, ever since Jimmy Smits has come on the show, he’s really kind of hit it out of the park. I’m so enamored by Jimmy in a way, not just as a human being, as an artist. You’re a very fortunate person if you have one good show in your acting career, one good movie. This guy has four giant television shows in the history of television. From “NYPD Blue” to “L.A. Law” to “The West Wing” playing the first Latino president to “Sons of Anarchy.” Not many people do that. That’s pretty incredible. It just shows how smart he is, and it shows how talented he is.
I think just for sheer volume of emotion and for sheer work, Charlie [Hunnam] was there every day. He was really just doing it. As Charlie goes, we go. So that’s a no-brainer.
And what Kurt does for that show, it’s unheard of. He does everything. Every word, every approval, he’s involved in every set design, every special effect, everything. He’s nonstop when we’re shooting and he’s nonstop when we’re not shooting, because he has to set up for the next season. To create a show that’s now become part of our everyday culture … that’s beyond comprehension that he created every single part of that and made it so appealing. So to me if anyone deserves to be recognized, it’s him.
Also read: \'Sons of Anarchy\' Star Theo Rossi Talks Juice\'s Fate and His \'Quite Nude\' Final Season
It’s pretty astounding that “Sons” hasn’t gotten any love from the Emmys.
And most likely it never will. It won’t, for whatever reason that is. In this business, it’s almost like somebody gets picked, and you see them in 17 movies and you’re like, “What happened? I didn’t know that person did a lot of stuff.” But it’s like they just get picked. They’re in 17 movies, and then after the 17 movies, they’re like, “Wow, we never really checked if that person knows how to act. We forgot one thing.” It almost happens with the shows [too], where they just get picked, and those are the ones you just consistently see until they go off the air. And “Sons” just never got picked.
You don’t think that will change with this being the final season?
I’m extremely hopeful that they would watch some of the stuff that has happened, some of the scenes that I felt were some of the greatest scenes on TV last year. Some of the ways the episodes were left off, not just in the emotion, but in the journey and the ride it took you on. And I would hope that they would say, “OK, enough is enough. We have to…” But sometimes it’s not tremendously appealing to grab a show at the end of its run. They like to get them right off the bat: “We knew this was our show from Day One.”
And listen, you have to understand, when “Sons” started, the day we premiered, I believe, it was the same day that Sarah Palin announced she was running for vice president. So nobody even watched our first episode. So we started out kind of invisible. It wasn’t until the Season 2 opener, when Gemma was viciously assaulted by the white supremacist group, that people started to take notice. Or even in the middle of Season 1 when we were burning the tattoo off of the back, that we became, for lack of a better work, buzz-worthy. And when that happened, it was almost already too late.
That said, if you do get nominated, what episode would you submit and why?
As an actor, the one thing that you love doing more than anything is just having a conversation with someone, and whatever emotions come from that, whatever the weight of that conversation is, is played out in this very simple scene — there’s no running and gunning, there’s no doing tricks and jumping around, there’s just two people sitting at a table. And I believe that episode 10 in Season 7, with Jax and Juice just sitting in the prison, I don’t think it gets more pure than that as an actor. And I think that’s why people constantly talk about that scene. Because it’s all of it in one 10-minute scene. It’s everything that we we were leading up to, it’s everything we were trying to hide, it’s everything we were talking about, and it’s everything everybody was waiting for. And then, there it is, right there. Ten minutes, just two guys talking. That, to me, is one of the moments that I’m most proud of on that show. That’s something that I’ll never forget.
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Emmys FX Jerry Seinfeld Jimmy Smits Juice Kurt Sutter Theo Rossi
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