“I should be dead. I know that. I should not be successful. I know that too. My daily existence is a toss of the coin – one side, fear, the other side, gratitude.”
Fundamentally, I’m a people pleaser.
It took years of sobriety before I realized this is more character defect than positive attribute. I continue to struggle with it often.
Kurt Sutter doesn’t have this problem.
A writer, actor, director, and long-time loyal friend, Kurt is a man utterly unafraid to be exactly who he is — a passionate artist committed to his creative vision for both life and art.
Kurt’s description of his upbringing is vintage Sutter:
Raised in the shadow of Rahway prison, Kurt spent most of his New Jersey childhood indoors, away from people, three feet from a TV screen. That’s where he learned the essentials of storytelling and the comic significance of anvils.
Anvils aside, you most likely know Kurt as the creator, head writer and showrunner of Sons of Anarchy, the critically acclaimed outlaw motorcycle club psychodrama with a fanbase so rabid, it became the biggest hit television show in the FX network’s history.
After humble beginnings performing off-off-Broadway in theatres, lofts and (in his words) holding cells (more vintage Sutter), Kurt caught his first major break in 2001, booking a staff writer gig on FX’s The Shield, where he spent the next seven years mastering the fundamentals of fearless television storytelling and rising up the ranks to graduate as one of the show’s coveted Executive Producers.
Then came Sons. A seven-year, Shakespearean eruption of vigilantism, government corruption, racism, loyalty and human transformation, the show struck an immediate cultural nerve, cementing itself in the zeitgeist and skyrocketing Kurt to Hollywood’s A-list.
Kurt’s creative output is impressive. Beyond Sons, Kurt penned Southpaw, a gritty feature-length boxing drama originally written for Eminem that ultimately starred Jake Gyllenhaal. He created The Bastard Executioner, a historical drama that ran for one season of FX, and a comic book mini-series called Lucas Stand. Mayans MC, Kurt’s third television drama for FX, is set to debut soon. And this list doesn’t even include Kurt’s many feature projects currently in development.
A self-described misanthrope, let’s just say Kurt has a penchant for unapologetically speaking his mind — a disposition at odds with Hollywood etiquette that has resulted in more than a few skirmishes.
But the Kurt I know — the Kurt I have been friends with for well over a decade – is a man quite apart from the reputation that often precedes him. He’s a family man. A husband and father of three children. A great friend. An example of selfless service. And an extraordinary artist.
It may sound like a Cinderella story. But success for Kurt didn’t come easy. And it didn’t come early. Overweight throughout his youth, he once tipped the scale at 400 pounds. Then came the drugs and alcohol — a battle he very nearly lost.
It’s a helluva ride. Today, we get into all of it.
For the visually inclined, you can watch the conversation on YouTube at: http://bit.ly/richandkurt.
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Note: One of the best ways to support the podcast is to support the sponsors. For a complete list of all RRP sponsors and their respective vanity url’s and discount codes, visit my Resources page and click “Sponsors”.
Background, Context & Reference
- Connect with Kurt: Website | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | Twitter | IMDb
- Blog: SutterInk (Archives)
- IMDb: Kurt Sutter | Writer | Producer | Actor
- Slate: Not-So-Zen and the Art of Voluntary Agreements by Kurt Sutter
- Rolling Stone: The Original Son of Anarchy by Erik Hedegaard
- Hollywood Reporter: ‘Bastard Executioner’s’ Kurt Sutter on His Troubled Past, C-Word Insults and New ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Spinoff by Lacey Rose
- UPROXX: Kurt Sutter’s Greatest Hits Of Angry, Obscene, And Downright Hilarious Tweets by Dustin Rowles
- CBR: Sons of Anarchy Creator Kurt Sutter Breaks Down Return of Lucas Stand by Jordan Commandeur
- Vulture: Kurt Sutter Shares Details About His New Series, Mayans MC by Will Robinson
- NJ.com: Favorite Son: Kurt Sutter grew up dreaming beyond Jersey
- Variety: Kurt Sutter Signs New Deal With 20th TV, Fox 21, FX Productions by Daniel Holloway
- Variety: ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Spinoff ‘Mayans MC’ Picked Up to Series by FX by Debra Birnbaum
- Variety: Kurt Sutter Reflects on ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Creative Snags, Actors as Directors, and ‘Angry Emails’ by Diane Gordon
- Deadline: Kurt Sutter Inks Big New Overall Deal With 20th TV & FX Prods. Ahead Of Disney Deal
- Deadline: ‘Sons Of Anarchy’s Kurt Sutter On Harvey Weinstein Scandal by Mike Fleming Jr.
- Deadline: Kurt Sutter Joins ‘Chaos Walking’ Cast by Anita Busch
- Deadline: ‘Walking Dead’ Lawsuit: Kurt Sutter Rips AMC’s “C**tmove” Releasing Frank Darabont Emails by Dominic Patten
- Hollywood Reporter: Kurt Sutter, Shawn Ryan Blast AMC Over ‘Walking Dead’ Showrunner Exit by Lesley Goldberg
- IndieWire: ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Creator Kurt Sutter on the ‘Hollywood Power Machine’ That Enabled Harvey Weinstein by Michael Schneider
- IndieWire: ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Spinoff ‘Mayans MC’ Gets Script Order, Inches Closer To Series At FX by Liz Calvario
- Vulture: Kurt Sutter Shares Details About His New Series, Mayans MC
- Digital Trends: Everything we know so far about ‘Mayans MC,’ the ‘Sons of Anarchy’ spinoff
Notable People Discussed In Today’s Podcast
- Katey Sagal: actress, singer-songwriter, known for Married With Children*, Sons of Anarchy* and Superior Doughnuts; Kurt’s wife.
- Travis Barker: drummer for the rock band Blink-182, musician, producer, author and podcast guest
- John Joseph: punk rock signer for Bloodclot / the Cro-Mags and multi-episode podcast guest
- Elgin James: filmmaker, musician and a former member of Friends Stand United, a Boston, Massachusetts area group in the early 1990s
- Toby Morse: musician, motivational speaker who is best known as the vocalist for punk rock band H₂O
- Marshall Mathers: professionally as Eminem, rapper, songwriter, record producer, record executive & actor
- Antoine Fuqua: film director, producer, best known for his 2001 Academy Award-winning film Training Day*
- Jake Gyllenhaal: actor, producer (starred in Southpaw*, written by guest Kurt Sutter)
- Scott Rosenbaum: film and television screenwriter, producer, and show runner
- Kathryn Gately: co-founded the Gately / Poole Acting Studio in New York City on Off-Broadway’s Theatre Row; Kurt’s mentor
- Kevin Smith: filmmaker, actor, comedian, comic book writer, author, and podcaster
- Charlie Hunnam: actor. He is known for his roles as Jackson “Jax” Teller in the FX drama series Sons of Anarchy
- Shawn Ryan: screenwriter and television producer. He created or co-created a number of TV drama series, including The Shield
- Vic Mackey: (character) played by Michael Chiklis, is a fictional character and the protagonist of the highly acclaimed FX crime drama series The Shield, which ran for seven seasons
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy
- RRP #269: Travis Barker On Premonition Intuition & The Importance Of Following Your Heart
- RRP #294: John Joseph Returns: The Evolution Of A Cro-Magnon, Overcoming Insurmountable Obstacles & The Transformative Power Of PMA
- RRP #130: ‘American Sniper’ Screenwriter Jason Hall: Finding Purpose In Tragedy
- RRP #328: ICARUS: How Bryan Fogel Exposed The Biggest Doping Scandal In Olympic History
- RRP #249: Sacha Gervasi & David De Rothschild: Chasing Dreams, Seeking Adventure & The Power Of Story To Change The World
*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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