“Sons of Anarchy” creator Kurt Sutter explains why the role of Clay Morrow changed from Scott Glenn to Ron Perlman…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
It’s hard to imagine “Sons of Anarchy” without Ron Perlman portraying the patriarchal role of Clay Morrow but when the show was first shot a pilot episode, he wasn’t part of the cast.
Instead “Training Day” actor Scott Glenn was cast as Clay Morrow to star opposite Charlie Hunnam, who was cemented in his role as Jax Teller.
Of course it’s been well documented that Glenn shot his part in the pilot episode but after that was wrapped, “Sons of Anarchy” creator Kurt Sutter and the powers-that-be at FX decided to make some alterations before taking another stab at the series.
Unfortunately, Glenn ended up on the chopping block and he was replaced by Perlman, who went onto star in the series for six seasons.
As part of a new weekly Q&A series on social media, Sutter has been answering fan questions about his various work in TV and film and one of the questions that came up recently was the reasoning behind Glenn’s exit and Perlman joining the show.
“We shot the SOA pilot twice,” Sutter explained. “Did the same for Mayans interestingly enough. Almost the same reasons. Scott Glen is a powerhouse of an actor. His take on Clay was potent and compelling but the first pilot lacked a buoyancy. It was too heavy, took itself too seriously.
“The thing I loved about hanging with MC’s was the reverie. These guys laughed and had fun. You have to find a release when you live in such a dangerous world. So I rewrote the script. Added a lot darker humor. With those changes, the character of Clay morphed into someone else. That’s when we decided to recast.”
Glenn is well known for his intense acting, especially in past roles in films such as “Urban Cowboy” as well as “Silence of the Lambs” where he starred opposite Jodie Foster in some key scenes in the movie.
It appears Glenn brought that same kind of focus into his role as Clay Morrow but ultimately the show shifted directions, which led to Perlman taking over for the second version of the pilot.
“John Landgraf (FX CEO) and I each put together a list of who we thought was the best actor for this new incarnation,” Sutter said. “Ron Perlman was at the top of both of our lists.”
Perlman ended up taking the part and running with it for six seasons as one of the main stars of “Sons of Anarchy” and it remains one of his most iconic roles. As for Glenn, he’s stayed very busy with his acting career including memorable stints on the HBO series “The Leftovers,” the Hulu series “Castle Rock” as well as the Netflix Marvel series “Daredevil” and “The Defenders.”