Badass Writer of the Week: Kurt Sutter

Kurt Sutter

Kurt Sutter

By Daniel Ford

In a scene in the first season of “Sons of Anarchy,” a couple fucks next to a fresh corpse one of them has just murdered.

If you weren’t sure before, that should have given you a clue as to the kind of writer Kurt Sutter is.

There is no mistaking Sutter for anything other than a badass. If you saw him walking down the street or riding his motorcycle—he’s covered in tattoos and has long hair—“writer” would not be in the top five professions you’d project on him. You’d think something like, “That guy kills men with broken toothbrushes in the shower” and not, “He must sit in front of a computer typing for extended periods of time.”

Sutter started out living in the “shadow of Rahway prison” in New Jersey. His IMDB biography goes on to say he spent a good portion of his childhood “away from people, three feet from a television screen.” Is there any better recipe for making a badass writer?

His bio on a GQ post he wrote in 2012 reads like this:

“Kurt barely graduated high school, had the lowest SAT's in his class and went to the only state college that would take him. A fucked-up home, childhood obesity, food/drug addiction, and relentless television watching all contributed to his absurd, insular world of violent fantasies and sexual dreams. He hardly reads books, he plays a fuckload of games, and his only marketable skill is his imagination. If he respects you, he'd gladly take a bullet for you. If he doesn't, he may very well be holding the gun.”

The Los Angeles Times wrote a piece on Sutter before the premiere of “Sons of Anarchy’s” third season, which recounts his battle with addiction, colorful language, and developing his persona.

“I can be arrogant, I can be insufferable," Sutter said according to the Los Angeles Times. “You really have to have a big ego and a strong personality to do this job."

At the beginning of his television career, he used that ego and personality to land a gig writing for a little show called “The Shield”—a show that is considered by some to be one of the best to ever to be on television.

How does one top working on one of the most original cop concepts in recent memory? By creating a show called “Sons of Anarchy” about an emotional, angsty, violent, troubled, addicted, loyal, and warring motorcycle club in California. Sutter even stars as incarcerated Son Otto, who is respected and feared even though he’s behind bars. You could even argue that Otto drives the course of the show.

The first two seasons of “Sons of Anarchy” are near perfect television. The dialogue and the tone Sutter creates, along with the grittiness and believability of his main characters, are wildly original and pop off the screen even when compared to characters like Walter White and Don Draper. Jax Teller, played superbly by Charlie Hunnan, is powered by a heart and energy that works so well because it’s essentially Sutter’s own.

Sutter is also a writer who isn’t afraid to speak his mind. Every writer needs a venue where he or she can write, rant, or speak without a filter. Sutter has chosen Twitter, which benefits everyone. Here are a couple of my recent favorites:

TV peabody award is given to those who provide a public service in social awareness and good taste. so who's dick do i have to suck get one?
— kurt sutter (@sutterink) April 2, 2014
Knocked out my front teeth, keep losing the temps. Going gangsta or I guess, white trash Jersey, until next week.
— kurt sutter (@sutterink) March 14, 2014
we can't stop you from pirating our art, that's between you and your black heart. but we can stop the corporations who enable it. #wtfgoogle
— kurt sutter (@sutterink) February 20, 2014

You know what the best part about Sutter’s badassery is? He married arguably the Queen of Badass Actresses Katey Sagal. Her heart thumps on “Sons of Anarchy” just as loud as Sutter’s own and we look forward to the next generation of badasses they are currently cultivating (the couple has three children).

The show is headed into its seventh, and reportedly final season, which I’m assuming will end with everyone dying in the most vicious way possible—like a version of Hamlet that includes brass knuckles, automatic assault weapons, and heavy chains.

And it will for fuck sure be badass as hell. Sutter wouldn’t write it any other way.