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An Interview with Katey Sagal (Gemma, 'Sons of Anarchy')


Katey Sagal
Photo Credit: Raquel Krelle
When an actor has made a name for themselves, usually they are associated with the role that helped launch them into stardom. Some call it typecasting, especially when that actor continues to take on similar roles, but any smart actor who wants to stay successful in the business will show off their talent in a variety of roles through the years.

When Katey Sagal became a household name more than twenty years ago, she played Peg Bundy on Fox's Married with Children. Following her success on the series, she continued to take on roles that would help define her as an actor. From voicing the character of Turanga Leela on Futurama, to appearing in memorable guest starring roles on shows such as Boston Legal and Lost, Sagal has proven time and time again that she can succeed in any genre. Her latest role on the FX drama Sons of Anarchy has taken her talent one step further as she continues to keep us thoroughly entertained after all these years.

I was lucky enough to chat with the very lovely Katey Sagal about how she got her start in acting and the upcoming finale of Sons of Anarchy...

Q: What made you decide to pursue acting?

"I had been pursuing a career as a singer and I ended up doing a rock musical, where I actually did some acting, but mostly singing. I was always open to the idea, I had done some theater when I was in college, but I had never really pursued it and it sort of pursued me. I always felt like I had a lot of on the job training."

Q: How did the role of Gemma on Sons of Anarchy come to you?

"My husband writes Sons of Anarchy and when he was beginning the project and wanted to write a show about the outlaw motorcycle world, he came to me and said, 'I have a part for you.' I thought great, I had no idea what it was, but I knew I really loved my husband's writing and I figured it would be something cool. He wrote the part of Gemma with me in mind. We were hoping the network would be okay with that and they were and here we are."

Q: Tell us about Gemma...

"Gemma is the matriarch in this world. It's an outlaw motorcycle club and it's all about the inner workings and the family lives of these people. Gemma is married to the president of the club, she's been there since the inception. Without being a full member (because women can't be that), she is the matriarch of them."

Q: Will Gemma ever do a scene on a bike?

"I don't know. I personally don't ride a bike, I don't know how -- they would have to teach me. I've been on the back of a bike. That would be a question for my husband."

Q: Do you think Gemma will stand by Jax or Clay?

"Well...hopefully there won't be that choice."

Q: With your husband writing the show, do you have much leeway with the script?

"No, not really. He pretty much lays it out as it's going to be. I completely trust him. It's always a process when you're doing these kinds of shows. The writers, as they see these characters develop, they sort of take stuff you're giving them without knowing you're giving it to them. It all kind of goes back and forth."

Q: Did you do anything special to prepare for the role?

"I changed my hair. The clothes and the hair always inform me as to who somebody is. The wardrobe is very specific to the biker world. I wanted my hair to be modeled after some of the women I had seen in that world."

Q: Do you think this show would have survived on one of the major networks?

"No, I don't think it would be Sons of Anarchy. I think the reason cable is so great is because you have a wider range of storytelling available to you, there's not as much censorship, not as much restrictions. The stories on our show are a much darker and violent world that these people live in and to simulate that not in a real way, I think it would have been a very different show."

Q: What can you tell us about the finale?

"Well, I can't tell you much because if you've been watching the show, to tell you anything would be too revealing. I can tell you that everything gets heightened. I don't think the viewers will be let down."

Q: Do you use Twitter or Facebook?

"I do, but I don't use them very regularly. It's not super-enjoyable for me. I've tried, I just don't update it."

Q: Anything to say to the fans?

"Thank you so much for your support in watching Sons of Anarchy, I really appreciate it."

In my interview with Katey, I also had the opportunity to ask a few questions about Lost, so be sure to head over there to read what she has to say about her time on the show and whether or not she's returning for the final season:
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