I spoke with the incredibly talented Timothy V. Murphy about playing Gaalan, the man that we love to hate on Sons of Anarchy. He was so much fun, which makes sense because the actors that play villains all the time always seem to have the best sense of humor. He also starred in one of my favorite commercials, the one for DirectTV with the mini giraffe. Timothy is the legendary tiny giraffe kisser. He also has several new projects coming out. Don’t miss him on Sons of Anarchy this season. I don’t know about you but I’m mesmerized by Gaalan’s wickedness and Timothy’s portrayal of him. He’s brilliant. Make sure you read Timothy’s answers with his stunning Irish accent in mind.
Lena: I loved your commercials with the little giraffe. What did they actually have you kiss on the set?
Timothy V. Murphy: That was a fun one. I kissed – I think it was a clothes hanger. Would you believe? It was a wire hanger. Then they made it out to be a giraffe. [Laughing.]
Lena: [Laughing.] That’s fantastic. Who didn’t want a little giraffe after that?
Timothy V. Murphy: Everybody did, I think.
Lena: You seem like a really great guy, but you are phenomenal at playing bad. I love how much I truly hate Gaalan right now.
Timothy V. Murphy: [Laughing.] Like most people, I think.
Lena: Do people yell at you in the streets?
Timothy V. Murphy: No, no. They actually come up to me and shake my hand. They say well done and thank me for frightening their loved ones, I suppose. I think people like to be scared.
Lena: Gemma referred to Gaalan as “The Butcher of Belfast.” What would Gaalan call her?
Timothy V. Murphy: Gaalan would consider her a bitch now, that woman actually.
Lena: What was the first villainous role that you took on that just felt so right to you?
Timothy V. Murphy: I’ve done a lot of them. I think every role that I’ve done in television has been a villain, to tell you the truth. I’ve played in Westerns and I usually play the bad guy. Very rarely do a play the good guy. Let me see, going back to my first television gig here I played the bad guy in The District.
Lena: Do you have a favorite one?
Timothy V. Murphy: Well, I actually love Gaalan. I love playing Gaalan. It’s such a great gang there on the set of Sons of Anarchy. I love going to work on those days where I’m working with all the guys. I also love working on Criminal Minds and NCIS: Los Angeles of course. The arc I thought was quite intense; it’s the coolest show right now, Sons of Anarchy.
Lena: Definitely! Gaalan has really added to the intensity of Sons this season; he is really sticking it to them. What is it like to have to embody that much aggression?
Timothy V. Murphy: I don’t find it that difficult, to tell you the truth. Maybe it’s part of me; maybe it’s part of being Irish. I worked as a bouncer in Dublin for a number of years, and I worked in construction for a number of years. I wasn’t always an actor. I just go in as an actor, basically, when I play the bad guy. I don’t consider them bad guys. Most of the bad guys that I play consider themselves smarter than the guys that they are dealing with, so I really go in with an attitude inside of my mind that I’m better than these other actors and characters. I play the scene accordingly. Not that I am or anything, but that’s what I have in the back of my mind.
Lena: In your opinion, what are some of the worst things that Gaalan has done?
Timothy V. Murphy: I suppose cutting off another man’s hands is not the nicest thing to do. I think he’s a bit harsh with Jax; he could be nicer with Jax. Blowing up the clubhouse. Destroying the boys’ motorcycles.
Lena: Were those some of your favorite badass Gaalan moments?
Timothy V. Murphy: They were my favorite badass Gaalan moments, but I don’t think the people are going to look very kindly upon him for killing the Chinese people, or the Mexicans for killing Mexican people, as he’s done in the past. I think he’s a bit of a racist. I don’t think he likes too many people, you know.
Lena: I don’t think so either. He’s not going to be getting a lot of Christmas cards.
Timothy V. Murphy: [Laughing.] No, I don’t think so.
Lena: At the rate that Gaalan is going, do you think that there is a line that even he wouldn’t cross?
Timothy V. Murphy: No, there is no line that Gaalan wouldn’t cross, which makes him very interesting to play, which is good.
Lena: I can imagine. Do you ever read the scripts and think – wow, really?
Timothy V. Murphy: No, I’m never too surprised. [Laughing.] I’m actually – especially during the filming of it when they start writing more for my character – I was actually quite excited this season to see what they were actually coming up with. I was pleasantly surprised the worse it was.
Lena: [Laughing.] It has to be great to play the bad guy. They are the most exciting characters.
Timothy V. Murphy: Yeah. Oh, it’s great fun. I love it.
Lena: How long can Gaalan hold all the cards? I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen. I wonder if he’s even going to make it to next season?
Timothy V. Murphy: I think the next few episodes have a lot of stuff happening that will tie things up.
Lena: I can’t see the prison escape with Clay going well.
Timothy V. Murphy: It should be exciting though, I think. It’s building up to a huge climax.
Lena: What has your experience been like working with the cast and on the show?
Timothy V. Murphy: I’ve never met a nicer bunch of guys. They are fantastic to work with, all of them. Most of my scenes have been with, initially they were with Ron Perlman and I love working with Ron, and of late most of my scenes are with Charlie. It’s great working with Charlie, Tommy Flanagan, and Kim Coates – all of them, actually. They are basically the nucleus of the gang I work with as well as the directors. It’s fantastic. I love Kurt’s writing. They treat us very well on the show.
Lena: That’s pretty much the consensus of everyone that I’ve ever interviewed from Sons of Anarchy. They all love it.
Timothy V. Murphy: It’s just a great place to work.
Lena: It also must be great to work on a successful show for a bit and get to enjoy, not only your character’s journey, but be able to watch how all of the character’s journeys play out?
Timothy V. Murphy: It is very much so. It’s great at the notoriety that it’s got. Most shows have people that praise them in different ways and I think this is kind of the cool show, you know. It’s like a modern day Western and I love doing Westerns. When the writer starts writing for your character and you have a lot of episodes in a row it’s a great feeling to work every day as an actor.
Lena: As a viewer of the show, who are you rooting for? What relationship or character would you like to see prevail?
Timothy V. Murphy: Well I would probably be rooting for Gaalan to basically kill everybody and take over himself. It’s unlikely, I think, that that would happen. Otherwise Jax, I suppose. [Laughing.]
Lena: If he kills everyone he will not have anyone to interact with.
Timothy V. Murphy: Well, he can start his own gang of an Irish mob over here.
Lena: That sounds like a plan.
Timothy V. Murphy: [Laughing.]
Lena: What can you say, without giving too much away, about the next episode and what we have to look forward to from Gaalan?
Timothy V. Murphy: I think it’s going to be an amazing episode. There is a lot of excitement, I think. All the strong characters are starting to meet together and we see what happens. I think there should be a lot of action and excitement. I would encourage everybody to watch it. It will definitely not disappoint, from what I know.
Lena: What other projects do you have coming up?
Timothy V. Murphy: I did two independent Westerns. One is called Dark Canyon and the other is Hot Bath an’ a Stiff Drink. Those are two independent Westerns that are coming out in the new year. I also did a lovely little movie in Iowa about a farmer in Iowa. That will be going around to the festivals in the next few months. That’s called Looms. Then two other projects I have – that commercial that you talked about with the giraffe – Lee wrote it. He’s developing a TV show and is pitching it around to the networks. We’ll see what happens with that. We’re doing a spoof on Taken called Tooken. In February we are shooting that, so that should be good fun.
Lena: That sounds like fun. How about Road to Paloma? When is that coming out?
Timothy V. Murphy: Yes, Road to Paloma should be out in the new year as well with Jason Momoa, who you know is very shy.
Lena: Yes, and I love Michael Raymond-James.
Timothy V. Murphy: Oh yes, I love Michael. He’s a good buddy of Momoa, who is another great guy as well.
Lena: I can’t wait to see that one.
Timothy V. Murphy: I do a lot of independent movies and you don’t know whether they are going to be released or what’s going to happen with them but it’s always great doing them because you get to play good, interesting characters.
Lena: Yes, they have some of the most exciting roles. I love indie films.
Timothy V. Murphy: Definitely because sometimes with the bigger budget films you just have a small part and it’s not that interesting.
Lena: Definitely. I also love your posts on Twitter. I love how you interact with your fans. It’s really nice.
Timothy V. Murphy: Oh, thanks a lot. I’m trying to get used to that right now.
Sons of Anarchy airs Tuesday nights at 10 on FX.