Harold Perrineau talks about playing Damon Pope in Season 5 of Sons of Anarchy, returning with a new episode Tuesday, September 25 at 10 PM ET on FX
When Sons of Anarchy returned with Season 5, airing Tuesday nights at 10 PM ET on FX, fans were introduced to a new face in Charming, California, that of Damon Pope. Harold Perrineau (Lost) takes on the role of the former drug kingpin who is now a legitimate businessman and new adviser to the SAMCRO crew. The actor recently participated in a conference call, and revealed that the social networking site Twitter actually played a role in landing the part.
"I knew they were looking for 'Damon Pope' for a while. Kurt Sutter was I tweeting about it and I followed him on Twitter. My wife is always reading it and one day she said, 'You know, they still haven't found Damon Pope. Maybe you should try to send Kurt an e-mail.' And so, I did and sent him an e-mail just to see if I could get a meeting with him and he took the meeting and we sat and talked about it. By the time I got home, he bravely said, 'Let's do it.' And so, there I am."
The actor also revealed that Denzel Washington's Frank Lucas in American Gangster was one of the inspirations for this former criminal turned legit businessman.
"I had talked to Kurt Sutter a bit about the character. We talked at length a bit about his ideas about Damon Pope, some of the people that Damon Pope reminded him of; one of them being Frank Lucas. The movie American Gangster that Denzel Washington did was based on his life. And then, I started doing a bunch of research on my own about a different guys who took their sort of street life and then turned them into more legit businesses and that's kind of how I sort of setup Damon Pope and how he might think or the way he may act in retaliation to things that are very emotional for him like that. So, basically, I just sort of pulled on these different sorts of businessmen and gangsters who I thought had similar kinds of backgrounds. "
He also spoke about the death of Pope's daughter, and how audiences may perceive him in a different light.
"I like the idea of this guy who's not just rolling in as some gangster to be tough, but he's a guy who just lost his child. One of the things that I felt like might be really challenging and kind of fun is to see if the audience members just go like, 'Oh, he's just a terrible guy' or if someone can go, 'Hey, if somebody had killed my daughter for a frivolous reason that 'Tig' killed his daughter, what would I do' and actually have some empathy for Pope. I'm really curious about whether that will ever play out, or if it's just going to be like, 'He's just a bad dude.' So, for me I thought that was an interesting thing to try to spot and then try to bring to the character."
Despite the violent nature of Damon Pope, Harold Perrineau believes Pope does have redeeming qualities, and teased that we will learn more about the history behind his behavior.
"I think he has many redeeming qualities. I think we've structured a man who really isn't just a guy out there being violent for violence sake. Damon Pope, he's more complex than just being an angry man and we'll find out as the season goes on. So, I think there are many redeeming qualities about Damon Pope, none of which I can talk about at this particular moment, but by the end of the season, we'll be able to talk about it more."