Sons of Anarchy: interview med Drea de Matteo(på engelsk)
I forbindelsen med udgivelsen af TV-serien Sons of Anarchy, sæson 7 på DVD bringes her et eksklusivt interview med Drea de Matteo, der i serien spiller Wendy Teller, ex-konen til Jackson “Jax” Teller og mor til Abel Teller:
Q: What’s it like coming in to be a series regular for the final season.
A: For me I’ve been in and out of here. It doesn’t feel any different to me. It’s the same. The series regular thing had to happen to make sure that I was on one coast for them, for a whole season for scheduling. But I’ve been here with them on and off the whole time. It feels the same and it feels sad that it’s almost over.
Q: There are some amazing female characters in Sons of Anarchy and they didn’t imagine they would be as big as they are. How do you feel being part of this triumvirate of power playing between yourself and Gemma and Tara in the show? Has it been fun?
A: The stuff that happened between us, I haven’t watched yet. So I still don’t even really know what happened. I just started watching season six and I’m just realizing that Tara was not on drugs and is not losing her mind. I thought that all these things were for real because this is what Katy’s character told me. And I still believe that. So I kind of acted out this last season really not knowing what the hell was going on. But as far as strong characters go, my character is probably not as strong as those ladies. I usually tend to play characters that are more on the vulnerable, breakable side. I guess even though I probably look like the toughest person in the room. But I have a quiet strength on this show. Because I’m trying to remain sober on crack last season. But she keeps trying. Just getting back up and trying. So that’s a testament to strength.
Q: Your character started off as easy to hate. The darker character. But I think she’s morphed into something different, how do you feel about that? Was that always the case or was that something that Kurt went into later?
A: Well I remember that everybody hated the character because I OD’d while pregnant. But I mean, she’s a drug addict. A terrible drug addict and had no respect for herself, for the baby inside her. None of that. And she was not a victim because she makes her own choices. But an evil character, no. Stupid at times, yes, but probably too sensitive. Probably feels too much. So to put her in this evil character category, that’s not who Wendy ever was. She was too vulnerable to just be alive. She couldn’t take the rawness of just being in the world. Whether here was a baby, she probably didn’t even believe there was a baby inside her to that degree, so out of touch with herself. So I know that my character was hated but I think when Kurt has written her, he’s never really written her like a despicable character, a hateable person. She’s not going after anybody. She’s not playing two sides. She’s not vindictive. She’s not trying to manipulate people. She’s just honestly trying; she’s probably the only honest person around. So we’ll see. The fans are the fans. They got their own agenda man.
Q: How is Kurt to work for compared to someone like David Chase?
A: Kurt compared to David Chase. I was a lot closer to David. He was like my Godfather. He found me and put me on that show and with some nurturing in that respect. But in other respects they’re very much alike. When they are show runners that have had huge successes and they know what they want. And they know how to get it. And that’s all I need to say. But I prefer TV to films because I love watching stories. With this show I haven’t been reading the scripts like this because I don’t want to know because I watch the show. But I love watching the stories unfold. Weekly, monthly, yearly. You don’t get that with a film. You get boom, like this. So when you have writers like Kurt and David and the teams they’ve put together to make our shows, it’s pretty lucky. I feel pretty lucky.
Q: It’s been 15 years this year since The Sopranos started.
A: You know, it’s crazy. It feels like forever ago. But the fans, it’s like it was yesterday. People barely still stop me for Sons of Anarchy, still Sopranos. And I’m always like do I even still look like this girl. I was in my 20’s. Now I’m in my 40’s. I mean, that’s crazy. It’s over 15 years ago. I guess because we took so many hiatuses too. We were the masters of the year hiatus. That was the difference between Kurt and David.
Q: Have you had much interaction with motorcycle clubs and the women who are either in them or around them?
A: I grew up in the lower east side. So I grew up not far from the Hell’s Angels clubhouse in New York City. And we used to hang out at my friend’s apartment that was on 3rd street and watch everything go down in that clubhouse. And there was shit that mirrors the show that was going down as far as the men and the women are concerned. When I was younger I used to hang out with a lot of bikers though. I thought it was cool. I was a teenager. But no I stay away from motorcycles. They scare the shit out of me. All my friends ride them. And I have a giant burn on my leg from a motorcycle accident. So I stay away from them. But lately people flash so many beautiful motorcycles in front of me, all I want to do is buy one for my boyfriend now. I’m getting sucked in. I like the vintage ones. I like the old.
Q: How real does the show appear to you when you think about your experiences as a teen?
A: We’re probably the only show that’s the most realistic and people don’t think they’re that realistic because it’s so much crime and violence. Or the CSI’s and the Law and Orders and all that because crime is happening all fucking day long in every single area of the universe. But with shows like The Sopranos and Sons Of Anarchy, the backdrop is these subcultures. I don’t know how much of that violence actually takes place within all of those groups of people. I think we make it bigger for TV, for the drama. I don’t think the mafia is alive as it was when a movie like The Godfather was made and the actual days of The Godfather, not even when the movie was made in the 70’s. But I don’t think any of those things are that alive anymore. Except for maybe you know, drug dealing and stuff. I don’t know that much about the crime world. I kind of live in a bubble. Two kids in a bubble.
Q: this might be an inappropriate question. When you see M-Cs in the street are you still attracted to them?
A: Well look, I’m known for dating boys that look like they could use like six baths, a mother, a microphone, a motorcycle. So yeah I guess I’m attracted to a certain type of boy. But I’d rather them stay off the motorcycles ‘cause I have little kids. And my brother had a motorcycle accident. I’ve had just a lot of, we’re so fragile. And you know, I know motorcycles are an amazing thing but I’m also a worrying, crazy mom. I know I don’t look like it but I am.
Q: You play a drug addict in the show. How did you research for that role?
A: I know my fair share about drug addiction. I’ll just say that. I was a young, crazy child. All that changed when I was 21, when I was allowed to now have fun. I gave everything up. But being a drug addict, you don’t necessarily have to as an actor, had to have been one. Or go out there and dabble in it. There are certain actors that feel that they need to do all those things. All you need to do is tap into the feelings of what makes you a drug addict and how you get there. What the journey is and examine what that emotional make up is about. And I think it’s pretty easy, it’s universal. I think a lot of people have those feelings. They just don’t go take drugs. Some people smoke cigarettes. People overeat. Some people ride motorcycles. Some people jump off of buildings with parachutes on their backs. Everybody does what they need to do to cope with stuff. I think people do drugs for a lot of reasons.
Q: When you look back at that time do you think it’s a good thing that it happened to you? Do you think you learned from it? Or is it something you just want to forget?
A: I think now in my 40’s I don’t care, I got nothing to hide. So I don’t really care. But I do think that we all have our life path. That was my path and it made me who I am today. It made me the mother that I would be with my children. Which I still don’t know how I’ll ever handle them if they ever smoke pot. Don’t know what I would do. Oh my God, my son’s already jumping off of everything. I could tell he just wants to get in trouble. He’s going to want a motorcycle.
Q: How old is he?
A: He’s three and my daughter’s six. But they’re everything to me. But no, I don’t have any regrets about my life.
Q: Being a mom changes everything?
A: Well that came way later in life for me ‘cause they’re young. But I wish I would have had them when I was twenty. Oh my God, I might have saved the nation at this point in my life if I had been smart enough when I was 20.
Q: How did you get involved in the show to begin with?
A: Oh this show was a strange, silly little thing. I was friends with John Linson and he was putting together the show. It hadn’t really come together yet. But when it did come together he was like come and play this tiny little part. The character dies in the pilot. And it sounded sort of like my thing on the Sopranos. I wasn’t playing the same character when I was on the Sopranos than the pilot. It was a different character. And then they turned her into a character.But the character here, Wendy, she was dying in the pilot. She OD’s and that’s it. She doesn’t come back. And then I agreed to stay if they wanted me to stay. So they kept her alive. So they had no plans for the character. He had no idea that that would be the case. So they tried to figure out who she would be and what role she would play on the show. So I stayed for a season and then I wanted to be on other shows. You know we all got to do what we got to do to pay for bills and things like that. But I came back. They kept me alive and I went to rehab but I got to come back. I feel really lucky.
Q: Where would you like to see Wendy go this season?
A: At the moment I have absolutely no idea where the story is going. I can honestly say that. I had ideas of her staying clean and keeping shit together for everybody to a degree, which would be the complete antithesis of who she was when she entered the show. But I don’t know, she’s been so vulnerable and easy to break. I don’t know if she’ll be able to handle all of the mayhem that I’m sure will ensue as it always does in every season. And there’s no Tara here this year. And she was my rock. Even though you know, we had our conflicts; I leaned on her towards the end. And I personally miss her. It was Maggie, it was working with her. But I have no idea. I don’t know what the right thing. Whatever Kurt decides is where she should be as far as I’m concerned. I trust him.
Q: Without knowing the context of a scene are you just discussing your characters with the director on the day? Or are you getting the little details that you need to have to play a scene right?
A: Well you know, with this show because I’m in and out it’s not as much as on a show where I’ve been really there for a long period of time. But it’s really our job to figure that out and where our relationship is to everybody. For example I have scenes with Juice and I don’t really know, no one’s told me who he is to me in the scope of the whole season, you know, in my life growing up in Charming. So as actors we make up some crazy fucking stories. We feed ourselves some crazy stories. We’re our own storytellers. But if you want to go to the creator and have a chat about it or, and the writers are always on set. TV is a writer’s medium before anybody else. So they’re always there, the writer’s king. So if you ever want to ask a question they’re right there. And I’m sure they’d love to talk about it. We make our own bios before we step on set. That’s what’s great about TV though. You get to develop the character for so long. And you get to know this person and one week you’ll be like holy shit, I had no idea that this person did this in the past. It’s always a new discovery. So it’s kind of fun.
Q: Of all the stuff you’ve done in your career, do you see a certain pattern of success in this show that maybe that brings the show to this level, is there a certain formula?
A: Family, people love shows about families. When the backdrop is something as big as the mafia or a gang and you know, a lot of people I know they love these shows for the violence. But I think what gives these shows longevity is being able to see beyond the violence and looking at like, the emotional violence within the family. And the power plays and all that stuff. But these shows do have ingredients for every kind of audience. The people who only want to see violence, they get something out of it. People who want to watch a family show; they get something out of it. People want to watch hot dudes; they get something out of it. So everybody gets a little piece of what they need. That’s a good formula for a hit show.