Rockmond Dunbar discusses portraying Eli Roosevelt on Sons of Anarchy Season 5
After memorable roles on Soul Food, Prison Break, and Terriers, actor Rockmond Dunbar has found a new home in Charming, California on the FX series Sons of Anarchy. He joined the series last season, portraying Eli Roosevelt in the popular series, which returns with "Toad's Wild Ride" Tuesday, October 23 at 10 PM ET on FX. The actor recently conducted a conference call, and he started out by talking about how he rarely knows future plot lines in advance, while teasing a few details about the Season 5 finale.
"We just wrapped up the finale and we were shooting a scene with Jax and also Tara. We were having a lot of dialogue about the scene, and Tara looked at (series creator) Kurt (Sutter) and said, 'Hey man, I wish we knew what's going to happen.' Kurt didn't even know what was going to happen. He was like, 'Look. I'm leaving the doors open on this.' Alright, so there's four different options and different directions of where he could go and take this moment that played out last night. I never know what's going to happen until I get to the read-through and sit down with Kurt and the rest of the cast members and go through the script. I didn't know last year. I thought I was going to die after 10 episodes, a horrible death. That was it, but I'm here, and I signed on to do six episodes and ended up doing about eight. My character is finding a nice little arch."
His last major role was on the short-lived FX series Terriers, created by Shawn Ryan. The actor spoke about his intriguing "audition" process for the role that stemmed from Kurt Sutter's longstanding relationship with Shawn Ryan through their work on The Shield.
"I get a call from my agent saying, 'Hey, Kurt Sutter wants to talk to you about a role on Sons of Anarchy.' I went to go see him, sat in his office and he was like, 'Hey look, I called Shawn Ryan; what about this kid Rockmond Dunbar, do you think he'd do a job?' Shawn gave me the stamp of approval. Kurt and I sat in We talked a little bit and he was like, 'Hey, got to wardrobe.' It was a straight offer meet and greet type of situation. I didn't have to audition, which was great. Most actors love to get to that... where they're not auditioning. So, it was a great meeting of the minds, and we made it work."
He also spoke about how Eli is starting to lose control of his life, after his wife's passing.
"This dude is spiraling out of control, and he's literally taking no prisoners. He's lost everything that he built his life for. He took a job close to home where he thought that would bring his relationship to his wife a little bit closer. They're trying to have a baby. She finally gets pregnant and then she's killed. He has nothing. He has absolutely nothing. So, what do you do when you're stripped away and who are you when you're stripped away with all those things that you think created your life. So a lot of characters really need to be careful and to look out for this guy because he's on the edge."