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This week's cover: Inside the violent FX drama 'Sons of Anarchy'

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In this week’s cover story, EW goes on the set of Sons of Anarchy, FX’s addictive drama that’s gone from a leather-clad family drama about an outlaw motorcycle club to a dark ­exploration of human brutality. The deaths are coming so fast and so furious this season the drama’s nearly 5 million fans have worked themselves into a frenzy trying to figure out which major character will meet their maker. Will Tig finally pay for killing Pope’s daughter? Is Clay going to get his just reward? Will Jax go down over the sins of his stepfather?

“The irony of the crown is you can’t necessarily sit at the head of that table and not become Clay,” series creator Kurt Sutter tells EW. “Although in Jax’s mind, he is the anti‑Clay. He’s doing everything for completely different reasons. But the truth is, the behavior is still the same…when you’re outlaws who live by a code of violence, can you really step away from the violence?”
Sutter goes on to tease who may — or may not — bite the dust before the drama’s series finale in 2014.

Alongside our conversations with the drama’s stars about the extraordinary level of violence this year — one actor says Sutter is “walking a fine line” — the cover story also features revealing comments from Katey Sagal (Gemma) and Maggie Siff (Tara) about Charlie Hunnam’s high-profile role in 50 Shades of Grey. ‘

And we also rate the major deaths over the last six seasons! One skeleton means it’s almost palatable; five skeletons means it would even shock Quentin Tarantino.

For fans of Charlie Hunnam and his portrayal of the morally compromised Jax Teller on FX’s Sons of Anarchy, the news that he will assume the naughty role of Christian in the film adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey probably came as, well, a massive surprise.

It certainly prompted a few jaw drops on the drama’s North Hollywood, CA. set. “When he told me that it was happening or that he was considering it I just howled. I mean I think we all did. We’re all like, what?” says Maggie Siff, who plays Jax’s savvy wife Tara. “And then talked to him seriously about it. I think he’s very brave to it. He doesn’t do anything unless he feels it deep down. He’s not going to do something because all of his agents are telling him to do something. That’s what makes me think it stands a chance of being really, really great. If he has that conviction going in, then you know it’ll be great.”Katey Sagal (Gemma) had additional words of praise for Hunnam. “I’m really proud of him,” she told EW. “The choice was not an obvious one for him. But for good or bad, he will throw himself 100 percent in. I don’t know if I want to see all that, but maybe.” Creator Kurt Sutter echoed the sentiment for his young star. “We’re thrilled for Charlie. He works hard, constantly challenges himself and his craft. He is a star, in all the right ways.”

For his part, Hunnam speaks humbly about starring opposite Dakota Johnson in the movie that will be released on Aug. 1, 2014.

“There are so many fans of that book and I know that on the surface, I’m probably not what everybody imagined,” the actor admits. “Because reading is so personal and people bring a character to life in their imagination, they feel ownership over that character. That’s daunting if I allowed myself to think about it too much. I’m taking it very seriously and intend to explore the nature of who this character is, what motivates him—and also dress up nice and look good in those suits.”

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Tags: charlie hunnam, sons of anarchy (fx)
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