‘Bastard Executioner’ Creator Kurt Sutter on Violence Criticisms: ‘Nothing Wrong With Colorful Brutality’

TCA 2015: FX showrunner also discusses how his new show is similar to “Sons of Anarchy”

The Bastard Executioner

FX’s “The Bastard Executioner” is the latest departure yet from the cable network’s current canon of predominantly American, contemporary series, but creator Kurt Sutter sees plenty of similarities between his new show and his last one for the network, “Sons of Anarchy.”

“[FX CEO] John [Landgraf] sparked the character, the depth of mythology, the themes,” Sutter said onstage during the Television Critics’ Association’s summer press tour Friday. “Although it was unlike anything they had done before, that sense for John and me was about character and relationship and that world … as it was with ‘Sons,’ the outlying motorcycle culture became a backdrop to a very conflicted hero and the relationships that surrounded him. He had a sense that’s what it would be here.”

“The Bastard Executioner” follows a 14th Century knight in Wales who vows to lay down his sword but is forced to become an executioner. Lee Jones plays the knight, Wilkin Brattle, and the cast also includes Katey Segal and Stephen Moyer.

The showrunner, who also writes, directs and acts on “Bastard Executioner,” was also asked about the violence on the show, comparisons to “Game of Thrones” criticisms, and his own history with on-screen violence on “Sons.”

“Nothing wrong with colorful brutality,” he joked. “My mandate — as it was on ‘Sons’ — the violence, as absurd as it could be at times, it always came from an organic place and it was never done in a vacuum. For every violent act there are ramifications. Anything that happens, be it battle sequences or an execution or torture scene, it comes out of story and once we show the characters’ conflict, or their non-conflict in carrying forth that violence, it always has some ramification. Whether it’s emotional ramification or whether it impacts the narrative. That is the case, as far as I can tell, that’s the way we’re doing it on this show as well.”

“The Bastard Executioner” premieres with a two-hour opening episode on Sept 15 on FX.