As the title of Ron Perlman’s memoir Easy Street (the Hard Way) implies, the actor—whose Amazon pilot, Hand of God, recently got a season order and who voices a character in the Guillermo del Toro-produced animated feature The Book of Life now in theaters—has a life story full of ups and downs. “The book is very much about how every time something really, really bad happens, there’s a resolve that takes place as you heal your way out of it,” he says. “One of my favorite quotes, which is really representative of the book, is that I really never learned anything while I was succeeding; I always learned everything while I was failing, when everything was going bad, when the wheels were completely off the bus, and I had no idea how I was gonna get out of it. Somehow you do. And in doing so, you find out so much about yourself, so much about whatever spiritual thing you have going.”
The toughest chapters for him to pen with cowriter Michael Largo were those about the loss of his father at 19 to heart disease and the mental health issues in his family (including his own serious battle with depression). But he also makes it clear in the book that he struggled with how deep to go into his feelings about the isolation and discomfort he experienced on-screen and off during the end of his run on Sons of Anarchy. Did he give anyone a heads-up about that section of the book? “I don’t think any heads-up was necessary,” he says with a laugh. “We all lived through the same s–t.” And no, he’s not watching the show’s final ride. “I’d say there’s 15-20 percent of my work that I’ve never seen because I’m one of these guys that has a much better time doing it than watching it. And when I watch it, I’m not able to watch it objectively,” he says. “So the short answer to that is, I haven’t really watched Sons since season 4, or something like that. I didn’t even watch it when I was on it, so I certainly ain’t watching it when I ain’t,” he says with another laugh.
We got Perlman to share a few of our favorite stories from the book—spitting in Sean Connery’s face in The Name of the Rose and interacting with Marlon Brando on the set of The Island of Dr. Moreau—when he visited EW for an installment of Firsts & Worsts. Watch the video and read the transcript below. READ FULL STORY