Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched Sons of Anarchy‘s season 6 finale, stop now. (Read our full recap.) Theo Rossi took a break from shopping for his nephew at Toys ‘R Us on Dec. 9 to talk us through Juice’s latest drama (so wrong, yet so right).
UPDATE: For more insight into the finale, read our burning questions post with creator Kurt Sutter, Maggie Siff, and Katey Sagal, as well as our other postmortem interviews with Siff, Rockmond Dunbar, and Jimmy Smits.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Holy s—.
THEO ROSSI: [Laughs] Holy s—, right?
Before we get to the end, let’s start with the scene in which Jax (Charlie Hunnam) hugs Juice and tells him, “You betrayed me.” The look on Charlie’s face scared me through the TV. How did it feel filming that moment?
Listen, Chuck and I have been down so many different roads. We love working together so much. Jax is so broken by everything, he accepts his fate of going away and taking the rap, and he finds that out about Juice and it’s his one loose end. You could see how devastated he is, but also, I think he funnels all his anger of every single moment over this year into that one single second and it all came right at me. How it felt for me was like, “Okay, well, here we go. Let’s do this,” and then, “Holy s–. I’m basically, for lack of a better word, screwed.” [Laughs] Juice just wants to get of there. He wants Jax to go away and to get out of there at that point. It was one of those days where there was a lot of people on the street watching us film, and they didn’t even realize that what looked like an intimate moment was actually so unbelievably intense.
Juice goes to find Gemma (Katey Sagal), who’s drunk and high after breaking up with Nero (Jimmy Smits) and thinks Tara ratted on Jax. He follows Eli (Rockmond Dunbar) into Jax’s house, where Gemma has just brutally killed Tara. As Eli’s about to call in the murder, Juice shoots him twice in the back. In your mind, what’s Juice’s motivation: Is it revenge against the man who started him down this path of betrayal in season 4, or just Juice wanting to help Gemma in that moment?
In my mind, there were three different schools of thought going on: At this point, I feel like Juice has completely snapped. He’s tried everything: He was trying to be the good guy and right all the wrongs after that spiral in season 4 that started with the stealing of the coke, the killing of Miles, and trying to kill himself. And then he found this loyalty in Clay in season 5, and he tried that and was forced to turn on him. And then in season 6, he becomes this aggressive animal and he’s killing people with pillows, beating up cops, running people over. I think in that moment, yes, there’s a part of him thinking that this guy [Eli] is the genesis of all of this. This guy’s words in that office started this whole thing. And at the same time, he recognizes Gemma’s pain so much. He sees exactly what she just did — he saw it with Miles, he saw it with Darvany. He knows the feeling, and he knew that he had to do something. It’s like, “I gotta protect myself. I gotta take out anything and anyone that’s in my way.” I think it makes Juice really dangerous right now. One of my favorite shows ever is The Shield, and it’s kinda like the Shane Vendrell thing — you’re just protecting yourself and everything that occurs is chaos out of it because you don’t know what’s right and wrong anymore. This guy [Eli] didn’t do anything wrong at that moment, but he did a lot wrong to me before it. He used me like a pawn. I’ll just say I’m glad that Rock’s on The Mentalist right now. [Laughs] (Update: Read our postmortem with Rockmond Dunbar.)
I loved the moment when, after Juice reaches out his hand and helps Gemma up, Katey stands close to you but doesn’t actually touch you. It’s like she knows Juice is too dead inside to be of any comfort at that moment, or that she doesn’t have the right to ask for any since she told him vulnerability is a weakness. Was that something you guys talked about?
No, that just happened. None of that was intentional. Not even the picking her up. We just sat there and then Kurt [Sutter, the show’s creator who directed the episode] came up in the middle of this take, and he’s like, “Reach out your hand.” It was so unbelievably powerful. And then when he said that, I was like, “Wow, let’s not put the gun down right away.” Let’s move methodically and kind of slow, almost like a predator. There’s that moment where, for a second, you think, is he gonna turn the gun on her? Is he gonna turn the gun on himself? She’s so distraught and broken at that moment, and to see this guy [Juice] who’s always distraught and broken — and who’s been distraught and broken for so long — be the guy standing there. Wow. [Laughs] And then, God, Jax comin’ in later…
That’s my next question: We see Juice dispose of the evidence in dumpsters. Is he thinking about framing Jax when he does that?
That would be a question for the boss. I don’t know. I just know Kurt’s 10 steps ahead of everybody. I don’t know how methodical that is, but I’ve done things two seasons before that he references and brings up. He never forgets anything and everything has a point. That’s really interesting. I love how you’re making me think about things right now. [Laughs] It was really interesting not having the cut on, being kinda covert, trying to get rid of everything — the clothes, and the iron, and the [grill fork], and the gun, and all this stuff. At the same time, I’m not putting them in water or anything, I’m putting them in different parts of dumpsters.
And where are those dumpsters: Close to the house? Far away? So many unanswered questions.
So many unanswered questions. [Laughs] That’s the whole point.
It crossed my mind, for a second after Juice shot Eli, that he might take the fall for Gemma: He’d say he shot Eli for what he’d done to him and Tara to get back at Jax.
[Laughs] I’m glad it wasn’t that. Then I can’t last more than 10 minutes in the new season. I was so amazed by everything that happens. Going back earlier in the episode when we go to the park and Jax talks to Tara, I was so amazed by all that because it was so against what was set up earlier in the year, which is what I think is so beautiful about the whole story. And truly, the love story aspect of Sons of Anarchy — the Jax and Tara love story — came to the forefront at that moment, where he said, “I’m gonna throw myself on the sword. I’m the one that’s gonna take responsibility for all of this.” It was so valiant — and terrifying at the same time, when we show up at the park.
The look Juice shot Tara when Jax hands Juice the baby was pretty scary.
Juice is still furious with her. At this point, the only thing he knows is that she is the problem for us all, that she flipped on us, that we have a chance to go to prison. A couple episodes ago she and Juice had their little dance where she ran over his bike — so he’s completely finished with her. Again, at this point, Juice is just killing anybody and really not even caring. So he’s waiting for Jax to just say, “Kill her,” and he’ll do it. He’s ready to do whatever he’s told as the guy who’s, at this point, saying, “Whatever you need, boss.” Juice thinks that’s what’s hopefully gonna bring him happiness. That’s all he wanted from Clay: He just wanted that father figure. He just wanted to be told what to do. If Clay’s gonna be gone, is it gonna be Jax? Is he gonna be the one to tell me what to do, because somebody’s gotta tell me what to do, because I obviously can’t make decisions on my own, because every time I’ve tried to it’s been a disaster. [Laughs]
We’ve talked before about how fans are constantly convinced Juice is about to die. Now that Jax has told Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) and Bobby (Mark Boone Junior), who’s been handed the gavel, that Juice can’t be trusted, I imagine that will not stop.
[Before the finale aired] I was getting “RIP”s every 14 seconds on Twitter. It’s this beautiful poetic thing Kurt has created with this character: Juice has done so much wrong, but he’s never done wrong intentionally. Anything he’s done has been basically by mistake, even the confession to Nero [about Jax ordering Darvany’s death] he’s under the influence. He wasn’t in his right mind. I see it everyday — even just now, I’m shopping for my nephew in Toys ‘R Us — how fans react: They love the character because they feel for him. Same thing with Gemma and most of the people who run around Charming: They’re humanized because of their flaws. That’s why I think it’s a really interesting relationship with Gemma and Juice. I’m really interested to see how that goes.
We have to talk about the scene in the penultimate episode when Gemma and Nero save Juice from the overdose. How did you film those vomiting scenes?
With Katey, I don’t even have to say it: We’ve been together since Day 1, and I absolutely adore Katey. If I ever write a memoir, it will say Katey has changed my life. But Jimmy Smits is truly one of the greatest human beings alive. To work with them and to do all that… The props department came up with, like, cream of mushroom. [Laughs] I’m so crazy, so it’s, like, low sodium organic cream of mushroom. They mixed it with something else, another kind of soup, and I just kinda held it in my mouth. There were two funny things: One, Katey completely jammed her fingers down my throat at one point, so I did almost really vomit. [Laughs] And at one point, I wasn’t expecting her [fingers], she was just gonna do knuckles, and I think I bit her fingers. But [the scene] looked really good. There was a lot of trajectory on that cream of mushroom.
Has Kurt told you where Juice is headed in season 7?
I’m completely unaware, but [Laughs] I know it can’t be anywhere good. I’m sure it involves a high, high stress level. Let me tell you this, I know it’s not to a pool party or a barbecue anytime soon. It’s going to be filled with chaos. This last season — I’m gonna have anxiety forever. It’s gonna take me 10 years to decompress from this show. (UPDATE: Sutter says he’s not sure what’s next for Juice’s arc but that Juice will know he’s on thin ice having betrayed Jax and might possibly use his bold move in helping Gemma as leverage. “Does Juice keep this secret? Does he use it to his advantage? I don’t know the answer to that. I just know that we have something really fun to play with when we start the next season.”)
I love how the series is coming full circle with SAMCRO being in a beef between the Mayans and the Niners. I’m excited to see more of Alvarez, because that actor, Emilio Rivera, has always been so great on the show.
I’m hoping the Mayans are recruiting because I might need a club. [Laughs]
Can you imagine?
No, no. I think everybody’s just gonna say, “We forgive him. He’s such a nice guy.”
“Let’s not make Juicey cry again.”
Well, if you see him at the end, it seems like he’s just gone stone-cold. I don’t know what’s gonna happen.