‘Sons of Anarchy’ Star Credits ‘Filthy’ Role with Changing His Life

Christopher Douglas Reed has enjoyed his fair share of onscreen action ever since his character Philip ‘Filthy Phil’ Russell was introduced on FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” last season. As a SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original) prospect, Filthy Phil has proved his loyalty to the club by running errands and reconnaissance, (unsuccessfully) overseeing drug shipments and this past week, by enduring an intense round of Russian Roulette.

Speaking to journalists on a conference call this week, Reed explained how he stumbled into the role of ‘Filthy Phil,’ how “Sons of Anarchy” has changed his life and how the cast literally gave him a home away from home.

“I actually auditioned for a star role at first,” the San Diego-born actor joked. “I auditioned for the role of ‘Head Redneck’ in episode four. He was the guy who Piney hit in the face with a shotgun. I’m sure that was a blast but I was really fortunate that they called me in to meet for Phil.”

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Reed also revealed how his life has changed since getting the “Sons of Anarchy” role.

“This was my first job in television. I did professional theater before but never anything in front of the camera. The role started off as somebody who was around. They introduced my character and it has kind of grown into what you saw [this week]. It’s been a big exposure so it’s been really great. I haven’t had to do anything really incredible or extremely challenging until [this week]. My confidence level has risen pretty much with every episode.”

This being Reed’s first television show, the “Anarchy” cast went out of their way to make him feel at — and actually give him a — home.

“When I first got on set, it was my first TV job so there’s a little bit of apprehension there. The first thing I filmed was the prospects being brought into the clubhouse and then the chapel and receiving their cuts. That’s just an ominous moment for anyone I’d imagine is trying to get patched in. It definitely helped what was going on in terms of my real life with a new guy coming in and everybody has been on set for three seasons. […] But the guys were so great. Charlie Hunnam, for instance, gave me a place to stay because I didn’t live in L.A. at the time. They’ve been extremely generous and kind in their support.”

Additionally, the actor discussed his move from San Diego to Los Angeles, his history with motorcycle gangs and his long, audition-paved road to “Anarchy.”

On Finally Committing to Los Angeles: “I was born and raised in San Diego and just moved to Los Angeles. I probably wouldn’t have done that without ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and this past season, I was really fortunate and did some work on some other TV programs that I’m not sure would have come without “Sons” on my resume. It’s been a lot of things. The whole experience has been fantastic. It’s hard to list all the ways my life has changed but it’s definitely been a significant upswing.”

On His History With (and Opinions of) Motorcycle Gangs: “In San Diego, there is a fairly active [motorcycle gang] culture going on and I grew up hearing tales from one guy who was a member of one bigger club. As far as my opinions go, I guess I never really thought about it too much because it’s not something that is really exposed much in our culture. So being on the show has definitely forced me to do more research and look into it more. My opinions are more strongly formulated now. There are certain aspects of the culture that are tough to look at and tough to think about and then there are other aspects like the mutual respect that everybody has each other which is big thing in my personal life.”

On His Road to “Anarchy”: “It was a lot of driving up [from San Diego to Los Angeles] for auditions. […] I got an agent and then it took me about a year and a half before I got any kind of job. I did a Sprint commercial and then a few months after that I got the “Sons” gig. It was a lot of driving. A lot of going out for calls. You got to just keep planting those seeds and finally I got really lucky with ‘Sons.’”

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