ByMark Newton, writer at
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

Since joining the series in Season 5, Sons of Anarchy's Nero has become one of the staple characters of the show. Yahoo! TV recently caught up actor Jimmy Smits to discuss Nero's character and his future in Sons of Anarchy.

But they didn't keep it all serious. Indeed they asked Smits whether it was awkward to film a rather raunchy love scene with the show creator, Kurt Sutters', wife. See the questions and answers below:

So much has been thrown at Nero, between all the legal problems, the school shooting, the death of his cousin, the business dealings with Jax, and Gemma admitting she had a big role in the death of John Teller … where's his head with all of this?

I think [series creator Kurt Sutter] is really just trying to set up this scenario where you see we're moving toward the end of this particular season. They're just confounded by so many different things that are happening. There's a lot of confusion happening with these characters. Things are not coming to fruition the way they envisioned. The whole exit strategy that Nero started out with, where he and Jax were supposed to find a way to, "legitimize" would be a stretch, but try to get to a place where he can move on … well, as with so many of the characters on the show, they try to follow a particular course and then just kind of get pulled back in by the forces that they started out with. That's happened to [Nero], and yeah, in ["Huang Wu"] it just went further. It was just a continuation of what happened in last week's episode, with Nero not being able to choose a clear path with regards to Gemma, with regards to his relationship with Jax, with regards to his exit strategy. He's feeling torn.

How much did you know about Nero's arc, his overall story, when you joined the cast? It sounds like it was a very organic thing, that you and Kurt had talked about it, and maybe he didn't even know exactly who the character was when he began talking to you about coming on to the show. Is that true?

Yes, as it is in a lot of circumstances, with regards to adding characters, when you're talking about television. Television's a kind of fluid thing. ["NYPD Blue" and "Deadwood" creator] David Milch used to say that every show, it's like an organism. It has its own kind of symbiotic relationship with the characters, and continues to keep on moving and changing. I really believe that's true, in large part, with many shows. There's lot of spokes in the wheel there. Kurt definitely has an idea of where he wants to go with show, long range. He's talking about maybe another year, or a little more than that. I'm not going to get into that right now, but he knows what's his end point. Getting there, when we first had our conversations, it was more or less about a short arc [for Nero]. Then you start seeing dailies, and relationships between people and the characters, and what's on the screen, actors how everybody jibes together. In that fluid vein, it's become more than that.

Again, I'm going to refer to this thing about the mythology of the show. Whether or not this particular character integrates with the rest of that mythology, I don't know. It's become much more than just a season arc that is an antagonistic foil. That has a lot to do with the way they're writing it. There are no black and white characters here. As long as they keep that forward motion thing happening … as long as Nero keeps mixing it up with the guys, and he's not just the counsel for Jax, or the romantic interest for Gemma … it just makes it more enjoyable for me as an actor.

You have fantastic chemistry with Katey Sagal, and obviously, Kurt has no problem with the romantic scenes since he's the one writing many of them. But is it ever awkward when everyone's on set, and you're playing out the steamier moments?

(Laughing) When you say "on set," Kurt's really not on set when we're filming most of the stuff. When I first started, there was a little awkwardness, when we started with the first couple of scenes. I don't know if you remember when [Nero] was introduced? But we're professional actors, it's just what we do. By now, there's a real trust level that we have, I think. The fact that my lady [actress Wanda De Jesus] was on the show the first six episodes … it was all kinds of a little bit awkward, right? But thinking about it now, that made it a little bit more edgy, in a way. I think it worked on a lot of levels. No, there's no relish or anything in it, but we're professionals and this is what we do. When it's awkward, somebody will say something about it, and it's just out there and you deal with it.

Kurt has talked about next season probably being the last one. Does this make you look past that and think about the next thing, like another cable series, another drama that you might want to do?

I'm always looking, because I don't really know what's going to happen. (Laughing) There could be a bullet waiting for this character, that I can't be talking to you about right now, at the end of the season. But I'm always looking at stuff.

Head over to here to check the rest of the lengthy interview.

What do you think? How do you want Nero's time on Sons of Anarchy to end? Let us all know in the comments section below,


Latest from our Creators