Why Kurt Sutter Was More Scared To Make The Bastard Executioner Than Sons Of Anarchy

Maybe part of it has to do with his portrayal of the emotionally and physically tortured Otto Delaney, but Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter seems like one of the more fearless personalities working in TV these days. But that doesn’t mean he’s all bullets and bravado, as he has shared that putting together his upcoming series, the bloody historical drama The Bastard Executioner, was a scary situation for him in a way that Sons of Anarchy couldn’t quite compare to. And it has nothing to do with the violence.

While speaking with the podcast and radio show The Frame about the just-released boxing drama Southpaw, which he scripted, Sutter talked a bit about his next foray into TV, and the surprising thing that freaked him out about The Bastard Executioner.

It terrified me, in a good way, because obviously it’s a different world and a completely different conflict. The dialogue is completely different, the vernacular is completely different, and the rhythm is completely different. I really was sort of forced to reeducate my ear. I’m not doing traditional old English speech, because no matter how well that is done to me it always sounds goofy. It just sounds bad. So it’s a mix of somewhat a contemporary rhythm but with words of the period. I never use any modern vernacular and things like that.

Wait, does this mean that we won’t be seeing Katey Sagal call anyone a “ye olde gash” or something, because I don’t know if I could handle a change as drastic as that. Seriously though, it’s kind of awesome that someone as accomplished as Sutter can get mentally sidelined by something like dialogue, since it means that his investment in the project is such that he wants it to retain a sense of historical accuracy, but he doesn’t want to bore the shit out of people. It’d be silly to expect anything else, really.

Before Sons of Anarchy, Sutter was a writer, producer and director on the FX drama The Shield. That show was about a strike force team, while Sons was about a gang of unruly bikers, but both shows were deep and nuanced looks at men who used the law to further their mostly nefarious goals. While The Bastard Executioner will certainly have a fractured-but-powerful character at the forefront, Sutter can’t rely on the cops ‘n’ villains approach in that show, and a big part of that change-up starts with how these characters talk to and interact with one another. It’s definitely an intimidating task, especially since Sutter himself will be one of the people uttering the words.

Also starring Lee Jones, Stephen Moyer, Timothy V. Murphy and more, The Bastard Executioner will hit FX at some point this fall.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.