The second season of FX's hit drama Sons of Anarchy is set to premiere this Tuesday, September 8th, at 10pm. Here is a preview of what viewers can expect from season two:
And here's an interview that PopEater did with Adam Arkin, who plays a white supremacist in the new season:
Talking 'Anarchy' With Adam Arkin
As if FX's addicting motorcycle gang drama 'Sons of Anarchy' wasn't intense enough already, the show will be upping the fireworks in its second season thanks to a major plot turn led by Adam Arkin (who plays Ethan Zobelle) and his white supremacist crew battling the 'Sons.' PopEater spoke to Adam exclusively about what working on such an intense show is like, how he handles being a racist for the show and how he grew up in the limelight of fame.
Is this one of the more intense roles you've ever played?
Well it's certainly one of the more intense shows I've been a part of. The intensity of the character is in keeping with the show, but to be completely honest the things I've had to do on camera have not felt a lot more intense than some of the other things I've had to do. He's a very controlled guy, so the story lines have been intense and the things my character is responsible for are intense, but what I've actually I don't know that they're the most enthralling kind of villains, but finding the counterpoint to whatever the tone in. In an environment like Sons where most of the protagonists are incredibly rough around the edges and capable of a certain kind of brutality, whoever is going to come into that environment and be a menace is going to have to change it up.
Is there anything you did or people you spoke to get into the mindset of a white supremacist?
I did a fair amount of research just on the internet and in conversations as to who and what the character was based on. And then beyond that, it just kind of took off on my own.
Is personal customizing and improv encouraged on the show?
The blueprint is definitely there and the text is respected on the show, so in terms of coming in and playing fast and loose with the dialogue or the work other people have put into, no. But in terms of interpretive and choices, yeah, there's a lot of that that seems to be encouraged.
You work alongside Henry Rollins ... how intimidating of a guy is he?
For me he's not been intimidating at all. Working with Henry has been one of the bigger revelations of the whole experience for me. I don't think on the surface you can have two more different people than he and I, but right from the start I've felt incredibly comfortable. He's open and authentic and consequently you don't get a lot of mixed messages from Henry. We immediately fell into a natural groove as far as working with each other. I like him, he makes me laugh... I think I can make him laugh and we have a good time.
Is it an actor's dream to be playing what is essentially a terrible person?
It's always fun getting to play someone whose moral compass is not necessarily in keeping with your own. It's a chance to tap into your own demons and it's also a challenge because the people who tend to be successful at playing interesting villains are the ones who find some thread of common humanity that exists even in the most ... people. To play someone with no psychological layers or vulnerabilities is sort of a cartoon character. You've gotta find what's familiar about them and that has been very interesting in this process.
Have you ever had or wanted a motorcycle?
I had a dirtbike for a brief period of time when I was in my teens.
Cable shows seem to be much more buzzed about and critically respected than network shows nowadays. Why do you think that is?
I think quite frankly that it's the freedom to go into more complex story subject matters. I think the freedom to show some of the darker sides of human behavior. Even something as basic as what being free from the 10-minute story increment structure that you're locked into when you have to go to commercial ... consequently break everything into these fragments that have to be revisited in order to remind the audience where they are in the story line. Commercial breaks not only interrupt the flow of the story, but they kind of dictate a revisiting of what the story points have been. I think the flow of the narrative in cable shows and the ability to immerse yourself in the story and not have it interrupted with adults behaving in the way that adults really behave so it's not watered down, it just allows a greater array of story choices. I also think something as simple s it being a 13 episode season allows you to lock onto a story arc for the season that is more concise and allows for more drama.
Could a show like 'Sons of Anarchy' be done properly on network TV?
No, not in any recognizable form to what it is on FX. I think half of what creates the atmosphere and the drama of that show would have to be diluted to such an extent that it would be almost unrecognizable.
You're also in the upcoming Coen Brothers movie 'A Serious Man.' I'm guessing the movie itself is far from serious knowing the Coens?
That's a funny question, because part of what's interesting about the film is that while it is a comedy, my experience in watching it was that I wound up being more affected by it than I would have thought going in. There's a lot of heart to the film and a fair amount of angst to it as well as some genuinely funny things. But I wouldnt' describe it as an unserious piece of work.
Acting is in your blood (he's the son of Oscar winner Alan Arkin)... what's it like having the family profession being one of fame and notoriety?
I never thought of it as being a good chance I'd wind up with fame. I don't have anything to compare it to. You brought up the notion of the family business. In some ways, this was the family business which I grew up and around. I grew up in New York, lived in the West Village ... saw my father pursue a career as an actor. My earliest memories were of seeing him on stage in New York and then watched his film career develop out of that. so my desire was to be an actor and to have the life of someone getting to work in that environment. The fame element of it is a byproduct of that and it is in fact a pretty empty commodity. The only real interest it's ever had to me, fame in and of itself, was in its capacity to get you other opportunities to work and possibly the potential to work with people you'd find interesting to work with and for. One of the great gifts I think my father gave me was in making it very clear that there was nothing in fame itself that was worth pursuing as an end to itself.
What's the best advice your father has ever given you, professional or otherwise?
The advice he gave me as regards to acting, and it is advice that I've been in the position to try to pass on, is that acting is a craft and it's amazing how many people view it as something that needs to be focused on as a career before they've learned anything about the craft itself. In order to have a career, you have to have something you're able to offer, and if you haven't gone into acting classes and character classes and scene study classes, then you don't have anything to focus on. People show up out here in Los Angeles and they start wanting to know how to get an agent before they've taken an acting class. My tendency is to tell people not to worry about getting an agent, but finding ways in which to build a craft. If that means working in a small theater or taking a class, do it, get yourself in a position where you can actually be doing this thing you're trying to do.
I love this show! Now I have something else to watch besides True Blood!