Kurt Sutter, showrunner for mega-popular biker drama Sons of Anarchy, is venturing back to 14th century Wales for his latest show, The Bastard Executioner, which premieres Tuesday, September 15th on FX. The network takes fans behind the scenes in a new “First Look” clip, teasing the action with cast interviews and snippets from the grim period drama.
Bastard stars Lee Jones as the title executioner (real name Wilkin Brattle), a farmer and former knight in King Edward I’s army who finds himself thrust back into a life of violence. “He’s a deeply spiritual and religious man,” says Jones, and that crisis of faith becomes a crucial theme of the series.
“It was a highly rebellious period, a very dangerous period,” says Sutter, the show’s creator and executive producer. “Violence, it is definitely a part of their life.” The teaser glimpses that bloodiness with shots of warring soldiers and piles of corpses. “Our hero has to live the life of a different man in order to survive – and in order to fulfill his higher purpose,” says Katey Sagal, who co-stars as Annora of the Alders.
Sutter first envisioned The Bastard Executioner set in medieval England, but he shifted the setting to Wales after visiting “Valleywood,” a 100-acre lot outside Cardiff, during a location-scouting trip.
In a preview piece for Rolling Stone, co-executive producer Paris Barclay, who directed the first episode, calls the job “the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.”
“We knew we didn’t want it to be precious,” he said. “We wanted a Kurt Sutter experience, which means grittier, more immersive. We wanted the costumes to drag in the dirt. We wanted the fighting to seem un-choreographed, as much as possible. We wanted it to be more real, and more on-the-ground than we’re used to seeing on television. And all of that ended up being much more difficult to execute, if you will, than it was to talk about.”