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Ron Perlman admits he wasn't first choice to play Clay Morrow in Sons of Anarchy

Ron Perlman admits he wasn't first choice to play Clay Morrow in Sons of Anarchy

It's one of his most iconic roles, but Ron Perlman wasn't actually the first actor cast as Clay Morrow for Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy came to an end all the way back in 2014, but fans of the show have been keeping it alive ever since, and the success of spin-off series Mayans M.C. hasn't hurt either.

Even though the show may have ended years ago, that hasn't stopped speculation that it might make some sort of comeback, and Charlie Hunnam appeared to nod to the rumours that he might be returning.

You might be wondering how that's possible considering Jax, y'know, during the grand finale of Sons of Anarchy, but the actor said he was working on 'something in that universe' which involves him but not his character.

For the majority of Sons of Anarchy the heart of the drama centred on the Hamlet-esque relationship between Jax and stepfather Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) as they started off close but eventually ended up in conflict with each other.

The part of Clay is one of Perlman's most recognisable roles, but the actor has been open and honest about the fact that he wasn't actually first choice for the part.

Ron Perlman starred as Clay Morrow in Sons of Anarchy, but someone else had the role before he did.
Maximum Film / Alamy Stock Photo

Shortly after the end of Sons of Anarchy, the actor revealed that when he auditioned for the role of Clay they had already filmed a pilot episode with someone else in the role.

That pilot hadn't received the green light from the network, who Perlman says 'loved the series' but wanted some changes to the cast before they gave approval to go on with the show.

The actor didn't say who was first cast as Clay Morrow, only revealing that they were a 'brilliant actor' who he really liked, but explained to NPR in 2015 that the show was looking for someone to give a 'way more dynamic' performance.

He said: "The original actor is a brilliant actor, I won’t mention his name, but he’s – I’m a huge fan of his. "But he’s a very subtle guy. And he has a very kind of a quiet, understated presence about him, which, in terms of this particular guy, Clay Morrow, they were looking for way more dynamic.

"They were looking for higher highs and lower lows and a lot of very, very kind of…resonance, yeah.

"So I understood going into it that, you know – that they were looking for a more operatic version of this guy.

"And it just so happened – you know, I happened to be free that week."

Though Perlman didn't name the original Clay Morrow actor, we now know who originally had the part.

Scott Glenn played Clay Morrow in the pilot for Sons of Anarchy.
Cinematic Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter revealed in 2020 that Scott Glenn had been Clay in the pilot episode, calling the actor a 'powerhouse' but saying the first pilot episode 'took itself too seriously' and needed changes.

Perlman's character Clay met a grisly end near the end of the sixth season of Sons of Anarchy, as the biker gang leader had betrayed pretty much everyone around him and ended up in prison.

He was released by his former friends, only to realise that he was going to be executed by them for his past actions.

Saying goodbye to the show must have been difficult, with Perlman adding that he felt 'truly isolated' due to his character's fate in the sixth season as he was on different sets and shooting different scenes from the actors he'd been working with for years.

Perlman wasn't the only one who found it difficult to say goodbye to the show, as Charlie Hunnam admitted he used to come up with excuses to get back onto the set to the point that after a while security just let him back in without any pretence.

Featured Image Credit: Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP/Shutterstock/FX

Topics: TV and Film, Celebrity