Sons of Anarchy is a show thats struck an absolute chord with me. Season 1 has, like the Shield before it, hit every target dead centre. I didnt think it had a weak episode at all. A stunning pilot, a brilliant cameo role from Jay Karnes in Season 1 as well as Henry Rollins kickass character. Id love to start on the jaw dropping performances from Katey Sagal, just seething sex and menace and Ron Perlman emanating a festering, sweltering rage hidden under a calm exterior, I just cannot get enough of this damned show. Ive already pre-purchased this show from my local DVD retailer (Australias notoriously slow at getting in the good stuff guys ) and god knows Im paying somewhere online to watch it, no matter what I have to do.
Kristen Renton, was such a pleasure to talk to. I say that about everyone I talk to, true, because its true. I wouldnt continue a conversation if it wasnt as I dont suffer fools. Believe me, in no way did I suffer during this conversation, Kristen may have the looks, but Im very happy to conclude that shes got more to offer in the brains category. So easy to talk to, so full of life, so eloquent, she was charming beyond words… well… not beyond words or you wouldnt be reading them I suppose
On Working on DAYS OF OUR LIVES
Steve: You played on DOOLs, one of your better known roles as Morgan Hollingsworth? How was it working on DOOLs?
Kristen: You know what, working on daytime is so unique, its very quick. I had a lot of fun, it really causes you to be at a quicker pace, and know, you have so many lines every day, you can do three episodes every day. Its a higher, faster pace, high anxiety way to do it but its so much fun!
Steve: I always wondered about the pace they shot at. I mean one episode a day every day except weekends, every day of the year, I mean thats phenomenal, Im not sure, but how many episodes a year do they put to air?
Kristen: It depends… I did I think fifty or sixty in one year? Actually I think eighty? Its hard to keep track. There are days where you do three but then you might be off for two days. It varies week to week, cause in Prime time you have seven days to shoot an episode sometimes, and then in daytime you can go weeks without even seeing the people who are in the same episode because of the schedules differing or youre doing two episodes a day and the days youre there theyre not, its very easy to lose track.
Steve: Well, I mean I have to admit I havent watched it since I was around 10 when I broke my leg? I remember being laid up in bed, Id snapped my leg, I was at home for four weeks, during the day, back in the days before the magical internet when you only had comic books, drawing and tv.
Steve: I remember some really outlandish plots, Im sure its no worse than no other shows you get these days, Im not ragging on the show…
Kristen: Thats one of the things with the show, they were able to play with and get away with some more interesting storylines such as possession and coming back from the dead, stealing peoples body parts, evil twins, but its such a unique genre, and it has such a following and its just so much fun!
Steve: They did a 2 year skip ahead in Australia to catch up to you guys because we were behind at one point, and your stuff is now just going by I believe, and the thing is I think your character is only just coming onto the show here Im pretty sure. Having a look over it youve worked with a lot of the people I remember from the late 80s including Deidre Hall, and Bo?
Kristen: Peter Reckell plays Bo, and Drake Hogestyn plays Deidre Halls husband?
Steve: And which ones he, is he a Roman?
Kristen: Now Roman is a…. hes an EX husband! *laughs*
Kristen: They broke up… but they have a child together and they…
*ALERT* Im cutting this DOOLS part short here guys because we just nerded out embarrassingly about DOOLS which freaked me out at what I remembered from the EIGHTIES and how it hasnt changed that much! lol!
On THE OC
“The Hooker with the heart of gold”
Steve: You had a guest spot on THE OC. I really liked that show when it was on. Im probably one of the few people who thought it was better when that chick left…
Kristen: Mischa Barton?
Steve: Nothing against her, Im sure shes nice, but I thought it got a bit better once they got her out of the show. Your character, I do actually remember you on the show. I remember you on the show, I cant remember who you interacted with, wether it was Adam Brody, or the father, or whats his name, Ryan? Benji Mckenzi?
Kristen: Its funny, alot of people remember me from that episode, its such a memorable episode being filmed in Vegas, I played a character alot of people call the hooker with the heart of gold. I had an opportunity to work with both young actors, Adam Brody and Benji Mckenzie. I had worked with Adam on the first series I did, the Sausage factory. We became close on that, we hadnt seen each other in a few years. When I got the OC, we saw each other again, it was like picking up where we left off, it was interesting.
Steve: I havent seen that, but I liked the OC, I thought it was just a good show. Adam Brody just stuck out, I really liked him, he had a real, everyman sort of appeal. A really nice guy sort of appeal trying to please everyone sort of thing but usually failing miserably *laughs*
Kristen: *laughs* He plays those characters so well, but hes so likeable.
Steve: Did he play the same character on the Sausage Factory?
Kristen: Close, very close.
On working on SONS OF ANARCHY
Not to be shallow or vapid but HOLY SHIT!!!
Steve: Lets get into the crux of why weve called. Theres a show on air at the moment, its absolutely fantastic. I love it. Ive seen the first five episodes at this point and it had me hooked from the first two minutes of watching the first episode. You could just… you know when you watch something and you can just tell its damn good? You wanna tell people what it is?
Kristen: Its SONS OF ANARCHY!!!
Steve: Now, youre in the second season, so what role do you have?
Kristen: I have, Im employed by a Porn company, my name is Ima and Im a porn star!
Steve: So its a step up?
Kristen: Yeah its a step up from being a Vegas hooker in the OC!
Steve: Well I suppose you could say youve got gainful employment *laughs*
Steve: So how many episodes have you shot so far?
Kristen: Weve just finished shooting the ninth episode of the series and Ive been in four so far?
Steve: So obviously we have to be careful what we talk about as far as the show goes?
Kristen: Yeah I cant go into too much detail.
Steve: Do you see the possibility of being a recurring character beyond these episodes?
Kristen: I do! I hope so! I mean, its beautifully written, an excellently executed show like Sons of Anarchy, you never know, you really never know where the writers are going to take it, where the creators minds going to go. Thats part of the beauty of it. Not only is the audience continually guessing but we actors really dont know week to week until we get the script whats happening or going on or happening with us, I can honestly say I have no idea, and Im ok with it, I know that shows gonna do fantastic.
Steve: The show, its got nothing short of an incredible cast, youve got cinema actors, some of the people in there are the best of the best of television actors, the best of the best of voice actors. You get to work with Katey Sagal! Ive loved that woman in a purely NON creepy way! *laughs*
Steve: Ive loved that woman since she was Peggy Bundy!
Kristen: I think EVERYONE loved her as that role! Who didnt love her on that show!
Steve: She was the ultimate white trash mom on that show! The sad part is I knew families that had mothers like that!
Kristen: Oh man! *laughs* So did I! Come on man, I grew up in the south! *laughs*
Steve: Youve got people like Ron Perlman…
Kristen: OH my gosh yeah!
Steve: I spoke to one of Rons friends, Doug Jones, he worked with him on the Hellboy films. Weve spoken three or four times now. Every time we talk about Ron he has nothing but the hugest of compliments for the guy.
Kristen: Ron? He is one of the nicest, not to interrupt you, but he is on of the nicest people Ive had the opportunity to meet, and gracious, and to be entirely honest, in his position, Ive interacted with actors that are so, so below where Ron is, that have been not even remotely AS nice or gracious. But Ron will come up and give you a hug, ask you how youre doing, are you enjoying yourself, just hanging out like youre one of the guys. Its amazing to sit there, because its like you forget youre sitting there talking to this amazing movie star, this guy youve seen in so many amazing things just sitting there shootin it with ya. And oh my god hes FUNNY! You wouldnt know it watching the show, but hes a stitch man, a stitch!
Steve:Oh man, you couldnt watch him on the screen and not like him honestly. I mean he plays a character on a show called Chowder, one of my sons favourite shows for instance. Ron as far as the actual show goes, his character, talk about intimidating, Im sure hes different in real life but his character, is someone you wouldnt want to cross paths with.
Kristen: Exactly! *laughs* Hes definitely, he, puts, that jacket on and he walks on set and youre like Im leaving now! He has that persona, that kind of air about him, that hes such a badass. Even between takes, when youre hanging out he oozes confidence you just want to latch onto and learn from.
Steve: Is he like actors like Viggo Mortenson and Daniel Day Lewis where they method act and stay in character all the time, or does he manage to switch off between takes?
Kristen: You know with him, with what Ive witnessed with him, he switches? Inbetween takes hes goofin around, and the minute they yell action hes there. It might be part of his method Im not sure. Ive seen him joking around one moment but then seen him go do an insane fight scene the next, it might be part of his next. More power to him.
Steve:What do you find appealing about this new character?
Kristen: You know I… with this character of Ima, she is, shes what I like to call a Diva. She stands on her own two feet, doesnt need anyone to take care of her, embraces her sexuality and uses it to get what she wants. Knows how to get what she wants and doesnt make any apologies for it. I have never played a role that blunt if you will, Im enjoying the hell out of it! You know, a lot of the characters Ive played, yeah theres been a level of using their sexuality, but not on such a blunt open unapologetic way, in my personal life, Im such a tomboy and I dont knowingly use my looks or attributes in that way, so its very interesting to have to make a conscious decision to stick the chest out or walk a certain way or you know, just little things like that. Its a very interesting kind of change of conscience if you will.
Steve: Yeah and given the profession that she is, everything like that I guess it would inspire you to think of the character in a one hundred percent different way?
Kristen: Mhm, absolutely.
Steve: With the show, who do you find most of your scenes have been with, has it been with Jax or someone else?
Kristen: My character, the moment she laid eyes on Jax, knew that thats what she wanted so shes spent the majority of the time going after that. *laughs* The majority of my scenes are with Jax naturally. Ive had some scenes with the rest of the gang, Mark Boone Jr and Johnny Lewis, who was also in Sausage Factory with me and Adam Brody so it was good to work with him again after all these years, I keep meeting up with all these gentlemen from the past!
And to finish with a quick comparison between daytime and prime time:
Kristen: I dont remember who told me this when I started in this business, and forgive me whoever it was that Im not remembering, but they said youre only as good as the people who are around you. You know. So, when you are around actors like Ron Perlman and Charlie and Katey Sagal, and countless award winning amazing actors, you find yourself being given so much that you can only reciprocate and have that quality of work, its almost like it comes, I couldnt walk into one of those scenes and do something really crappy and still feel ok. I, with something like this, the writing is so beautiful and fantastic and so special, the actors Im working with are of such a calibre, theyre of the highest calibre Ive had the opportunity to work with, you put them together and the role Im so passionate about, its a perfect trifecta of I find myself really diving in and really wanting to come out with a much better higher level. Because you can take your time, you have the opportunity to take those beats and those minutes to prepare, and think, and ingest and be, so you know there is that and with daytime as much as I would go back and do another short term role in a heartbeat it just doesnt allow you the same preparation or time to really get it right all the time.
Steve: So would it be a fair assessment to say you can find yourself, a better center to the role?
Kristen: I can? Absolutely. I cant speak for anyone else, but I can.
Yeah I know I didn’t have to put a pic of Ron here, but every interview should have one, even if it’s not about Ron Perlman. It makes it 100% more awesome, just because it’s Ron goddamn Perlman. Don’t you agree?
Your interviewer from Down under, I’ve never ‘thrown a shrimp on a barbie’ or ‘tied a kangaroo down sport’ much to my countrymen’s disappointment. I’ve developed a love for cinema over the years that’s only matched by my love for talking to people. I’m raising my ten year old son myself while studying my Bachelor of Education to teach Math and English in high school. I was once told I could never do interviews, that it was too ‘select’ and that ‘you have to know people’… one Skype and IMDB pro account later here I am.