Even though FX’s hit drama Sons of Anarchy is coming to an end in a few weeks, creator Kurt Sutter has been busy putting together his next project for the network, the historical pilot The Bastard Executioner. The easiest way to replicate success is to use the same formula, so it’s no surprise that Sutter is bringing his wife, S.O.A. actress Katey Sagal, and one of his most used directors, Paris Barclay, along to his new drama.
According to the synopsis, The Bastard Executioner will take place in the 14th century during the reign of King Edward III. The story will follow a warrior knight who becomes overwhelmed with his life of war and violence and pledges to walk away from it all. But when danger once again calls his name, he finds himself in the most violent situation imaginable. Or something like that.
Katey Sagal revealed that she would be joining the series through a conference call, but according to Deadline, she wasn’t very forward about what role she was going to be playing. She only said that she would “definitely be involved” in The Bastard Executioner. If there is a hardcore, chain-smoking matriarch who doesn’t mind embracing dirty work in order to get things done, I’m pretty sure Sagal is a lock for it.
Paris Barclay, who earned two Emmys for his work on the gritty drama NYPD Blue, is officially on board to both direct and executive produce the pilot episode, along with Sutter, Francie Calfo and Brian Grazer. Barclay has worked on a bevy of popular series over the years, including ER, The West Wing, The Shield and Glee (among many others). He’s directed 15 of the 90 Sons of Anarchy episodes that have aired, including three this season. Sutter had previously directed each season’s finale, but when a surprise appendectomy took him out of commission for the series ender, Barclay filled his shoes for a few days while Sutter recovered. The two obviously make a solid team.
For the past seven years, Sagal has made Gemma Teller one of the strongest female characters on TV, almost completely overshadowing her two previous standout roles on Married With Children and 8 Simple Rules. She recently reprised her voice role of Turanga Leela for the Simpsons/Futurama crossover episode, though her other voice gig is no more, as the romantic comedy series A to Z was recently cancelled. She was also scheduled to join Sutter for his FX comedy project Diva. Clown. Killer., but that project is in limbo for now.
Production on the Bastard Executioner pilot will begin in early 2015 in Wales. Here’s hoping it’s amazing enough to make it to series, and that Ryan Hurst is involved. R.I.P. Opie.