‘Sons of Anarchy’ tell all in Colorado Springs Comic Con ‘Ride or Die’ panel

Not only did the cast members keep the audience laughing, actor Emilio Rivera let slip a nice little hint that ‘Sons of Anarchy’ may not over. Could there be a possible Mayans spin-off in the works? Too soon to tell, but “Sons” actors all came together at the first Colorado Springs Comic Con Aug. 26-28, 2016. Tommy Flanagan (Filip “Chibs” Telford), Emilio Rivera (Marcus Alvarez), Mitch Pileggi (Ernest Darby), Michael Beach (TO-Taddarius Orwell), and good friend the “real life” Nancy Botwin of ‘Weeds’ Dr. Dina all shared stories and laughs on a Sunday morning. Check out some of the highlights.

(Language Warning)

‘Sons of Anarchy’ panel at Colorado Springs Comic Con

Kevin the moderator: How did you all get your parts on Sons of Anarchy?

Tommy Flanagan: My friend John Linson had this idea about 10 years ago and he said to me, I’m gonna do this thing, and he and Kurt worked together, and boom.

Mitch Pileggi: So I’ll translate that for you, what he’s saying is…

Emilio Rivera: I was hired for a different part on ‘Sons of Anarchy’, was told the bad news that I was fired from that part. Then of course I was told good news that I was hired for Sons to lead the Mayans.

Michael Beach: I came in season three and I went in to audition and they really wanted a guy that could ride already. So they hired me.

MP: I went in to audition for Kurt and usually when I go to an audition and they say we love your work; we’re big fans of ‘The X-Files,’ I know I’m not going to get the job. Because that character’s too ingrained into the psyche. So as soon as Kurt said that, I was like well, I might as well leave. But fortunately he hired me and it was a great opportunity to work with a lot of wonderful people, and I had the best time of my life working with these cats.

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Dr. Dina

Kevin to Dr. Dina: I’ve got a question for you. What’s your involvement in the show?

DD: I am good friends with all of the cast members. I became friends with Charlie Hunnam a little over a decade ago and he asked me to watch this show he was working on, and I said that I didn’t like the name of the show. A few years went by Charlie said you have to watch this show. You’re meeting my friends and you don’t know who they are, and they’re awesome. So finally watched the show and was hooked immediately. And then I became friends with this guy (Tommy Flanagan), and I like to think of myself as Tommy’s spiritual advisor.

TF: She’s also an special advisor on the show so that we can do everything connected with it, so that we can roll a joint and make it look realistic. Obviously we’re real actors and we wouldn’t know how to do that.

ER: It was the best time of my career, and I’m hoping it continues, because what happened was like a brotherhood; and we’re still brothers ’til the day we die. We go to work, and it was like coming home.

Kevin: I don’t wanna interrupt you…because you scare me, but did you just say that you hope it continues?

ER: Did I say that? I can’t say much of anything, but I can say just keep watching out.

MB: For me, it was just the two things I loved the most, outside of my family, are acting and riding. So when I combined the two together, and hanging out with guys that actually ride as well, it was a blast. Ya know, it’s a lot of hard work, but when you’re hanging out with guys that you dig, it’s a lot of fun to go to work.
Kevin: Who’s the worst rider?

Tons of laughter while Tommy Flanagan was moaning “Ron” in a deep voice.

MP: That was a battle, I mean one time he (Ron Perlman) was trying to drive into the parking lot with that motorcycle, laying it over–he was so–

TF: No, the best one was when he was riding with his hand on the throttle and he’s smoking a cigar; the throttle’s the last thing you want to have your hand on.

Kevin: So has he ever dropped it?

TF: Oh, he’s dropped it. There was a bet going around for years on who dropped their bike the most, and boy….

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Emilio Rivera and Micheal Bleech of ‘Sons of Anarchy’

ER: Ya know, I’ll give you the….na, that’s OK, I won’t say that. It was kind fucked up. Well, OK. We had an opening scene with me and my son; ya know before I had him killed. We had this really cool shot when we introduce me and my son. We both come around the corner, and they say action, so we cut around the corner, and I don’t see my son. His bike’s standing right by me. I look in the mirror and he’s rolling. They had to cancel the shot because the bike was demolished. He was fine. It’s just that it was a great opening shot that just couldn’t happen anymore.
Kevin: I hear you guys like to ride in the real world.

ER: We ride all the time.

MB: Yea, Emilio and I ride.

MP: I think everybody rides. A lot of motorcycles were purchased by the cast.

DD: I will say that if I make dinner plans with these guys, they all show up on motorcycles, literally like Sons is showing up to dinner.

Kevin: How did you guys get into acting?

TF: Ya know, you get what you get. I got drafted, (Army) and after finding out I was totally fine. Relaxed. Then I did some theater (slams hands down) did ‘Braveheart’ (slams hands down) and there ya are.

DD: I actually started the medical marijuana industry in California about 14 years ago. There were some interesting Hollywood types that used to come into the dispensary, and they were interested in my life and my god brother Andrew, and the next thing there was this TV show called ‘Weeds’ that mimicked my life very, very closely. That kind of led me into interesting places and I meet interesting characters, and that’s why I’m here with these guys.

ER: I was a real bad guy for a long time, and I got clean and sober 26 years ago, and I don’t say that to get applause, I say that because it’s part of my story, you dig? What happened was I always liked TV and film, and was watching movies with guys playing guys like me and they sucked at it, ya know? So I got into it. I would just do what I do for them on TV, and got real with it. It just worked out, man. I trained in theater and TV for 10 years.

TF: There’s a thing on YouTube where Emilio is doing some stand up. You guys have gotta find this. It’s fucking hilarious.

MB: I was a football player in high school, and got a scholarship to play in college. I got hurt–severely, and somebody said I should audition for this play, and I said, get the fuck outta my face; and they kept at me. I didn’t know what else to do since I couldn’t play sports anymore, so I tried it, and fell in love with it. Then about six months later I graduated, and I went to college for acting, and that was it.

MP: I did some acting in high school, and then went on to a completely different career for a number of years. Then when I was done with that, I started doing theater down in Texas, in Austin, and I got on stage, the first time I got a laugh, I was like this is it. It was awesome. I immediately decided that that’s what I wanted to do and had to do. That was the only thing that I was really going to be happy doing. And fortunately it’s worked out.

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Mitch Pileggi

Kevin: Were there any injuries on the set?

TF: Yes. Me. I went over the handlebars. I flipped over the handlebars and cracked my head. I remember sitting off the scene and I heard someone say fuck; use that shit! But it was all good.

Kevin: Anybody else on the cast?

TF: Outside of Ron? The brother’s gonna love this!

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Tommy Flanagan

MP: Darby rode around in a Suburban, so I didn’t didn’t have any problem.
Kevin: Which of the Son’s deaths was hardest to deal with?

ER: Opi, man. I saw the episode and I cried. I stood outside until the break, and we saw a movie together to make sure he was OK, you know what I mean? It was sad, man.

TF: Yeah, Opie. Ya know it was all sad. Ron as well was heartbreaking.
Audience: When you did you know this was what you wanted to do for the rest of your life?

MB: I went to theater school, and I never thought I’d be doing movies and TV. I thought I was going to be a broke theater actor for the rest of my life. I still have more money growing up than I had so, you know, it was all good. I fell in love immediately–like immediately.

ER: Picture this. When you’re a kid, we were playing cowboys and indians, and banks and robbers, right? Now you get to do this, and get paid for it. I can do this for the rest of my life, you dig what I’m sayin’? You never grow up. It’s fun.
MP: Yeah, we don’t work. We play, and we’re so fortunate.



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