Henry Rollins, Danny Trejo, Mitch Pileggi, Chuck Zito … these are the sort of tough guys you expect to see turning up on a show like Sons of Anarchy. The relentless, take-no-prisoners biker drama traffics heavily in R-rated-levels of sex, violence and profanity, so there is always a healthy amount of sweaty machismo on display.
But what makes SOA exceptional is its ability to surprise. When it was announced that guest stars for the upcoming Season 5 would include Community funny man Joel McHale (as a con artist) and High School Musical alum Ashley Tisdale (as a high-priced hooker), viewers who once might have raised an eyebrow could relax in the knowledge that it’s only a continuation of the series’ knack for bringing in people who don’t seem like they belong and making them fit. Here is a look at some of the most memorable — and unlikely — guest stars to pay a visit to Charming:
It sounded strange when the embodiment of late 20th-century cheesy manliness was invited to play in the Sons sandbox, until we learned he would be starring as a porn star named Dondo. I think I spoke for everyone when I reacted with a head-nodding, “Ah, OK, yeah.” The Hoff did just fine in his scant screen time as a former porn star whose claim to fame was being very well-endowed. He’s moved on to a lucrative career producing girl-on-girl flicks, so essentially Hasselhoff was playing a hunk gone to seed. More perfect casting there has never been. Dondo helps the Sons in their search for porn producer Georgie Caruso (played by fellow unexpected guest star Tom Arnold).
Which brings us to …
The ever-affable comedian has gone dark in a few roles, but not in anything as widely seen as his turn in Sons. The slime just oozes off him as he sinks into the reptilian skin of pornographer Georgie Caruso, who first popped up in Season 2 before concluding his arc in Season 4. Georgie was a competitor of Luann, so he was never a favorite of SAMCRO. But when Luann turned up beaten to death on the side of the road, and Georgie was implicated, he became No. 1 on their hit list. He held on longer than expected, luring the gang into keeping him around so he could possibly broker a deal to help put the kibosh on a housing development in Charming, but when that fell through, so did Georgie’s luck. He ended up taking a rain of bullets while locked in the trunk of a car.
OK, so in spirit, the Master of Horror doesn’t seem like such an odd choice for Sons of Anarchy, but aside from his awesome cameos in movies based on his books (here’s my favorite — NSFW), the guy rarely appears onscreen. So it was kind of a coup to get him to stop by for a walk-on as Bachman (a name that delights any true King fan), essentially playing a biker version of Harvey Keitel’s character from Pulp Fiction. Tig and Gemma get themselves into a scrape with her elderly father’s caregiver and the lady ends up dead. So in comes Bachman to clean up the mess. After the deed is done, Bachman is asked, “Where is she?” to which he memorably — and menacingly — replies, “Where’s who?” Even the Sons are creeped out by this guy.
Brian Van Holt
This is one that’s only strange in retrospect, seeing as the Cougar Town goofball did his Sons episode before he was cast as Courteney Cox’s daffy ex-husband on the wine-swilling sitcom. Van Holt showed up in one Season 1 episode as Kyle Hobart, an ex-communicated Son whose cowardice led to Opie being sent to prison. He tries to make amends, but eventually must face his punishment and have his club tattoo burned off his body. Try explaining that to the gang at the cul-de-sac.
Before she was cloistered and tragic as Lavinia on Downton Abbey, Zoe Boyle was down and dirty in a Season 3 SOA arc. She played Trinity, who during the club’s trip to Ireland found herself growing close to Jax. This was to the horror of Maureen, Trinity’s mother, who had yet to share with her daughter, Jax or Gemma that Trinity was the result of her tryst with John Teller. Thankfully the truth came out before the half-siblings gained any carnal knowledge of each other, and the pair ended up almost laughing about it instead of being, you know, horrified beyond belief. But that reaction sounds about right for Sons of Anarchy.
Photos: Credit: Prashant Gupta