Rebel star Katey Sagal has played a number of different TV characters throughout her career. But none have been quite like Annie “Rebel” Bello. Sagal says her new character is a “badass” who’s “energized by injustice.”
But this is not the first time she’s played such a tough lady. On Sons of Anarchy, Sagal played a different kind of outlaw.
Katey Sagal says her ‘Rebel’ character is ‘relentless’
Rebel is a new ABC drama that stars Sagal and Academy Award nominee Andy Garcia. Created by Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19 showrunner Krista Vernoff, Rebel tells the story of legal advocate Annie “Rebel” Bello. The series gets its inspiration from real-life justice advocate Erin Brockovich. She was the subject of a 2000 movie that starred Julia Roberts.
“She’s pushy, she’s loud, she’s chatty and she’s relentless,” Sagal told The Toronto Sun.
Alongside Bello is her lawyer friend Julian Cruz, played by Garcia. In the series premiere, the duo took on a medical company that had been accused of implanting faulty heart valves into unsuspecting patients.
She ‘works outside the box’
In addition to her advocacy work, the new drama will also focus on Rebel’s messy personal life. She has three children, two exes, and a husband named Grady (John Corbett). According to Sagal, this new character has given her the chance to reinvent her on-screen persona once again.
“Rebel works outside the box a little bit,” Sagal says. “You’re going to see different situations pop up that Rebel handles in her own way, person-to-person.”
Rebel’s nothing like the character that made Sagal famous — Peg Bundy on Married…with Children. She’s nothing like Gemma Teller Morrow from Sons of Anarchy, either.
Katey Sagal’s character on ‘Rebel’ is a different kind of outlaw
Rebel handles things in her own unique way, and Sagal says the message is that “you can do a lot as just one person.” She’s an outlaw just like Gemma, but in a very different way. Sagal told CinemaBlend that Gemma was an illegal outlaw, but that’s not how Rebel operates.
“Gemma was an outlaw and an illegal outlaw. And she would literally shoot you,” Sagal said. “So did it help me, but Gemma was a quieter, sort of the ‘woman behind the man’ kind of character. Rebel is not standing behind anybody. She is not the power behind the man. And so, in those ways, it’s a very different role.”
The 2 characters do have something in common
There are a lot of differences between Rebel and Gemma, Sagal says. But, there’s also some similarities. She explained that in terms of being dynamic, someone who is loyal, and believes in what they believe in, they are “similar in those ways.”
“I do not believe Rebel’s going to put a bullet through anybody, but Gemma would have. So, yeah, there’s some similarity but not as much as I would have thought. They’re a different kind of energy, for sure. Gemma didn’t speak a lot; Rebel talks constantly,” Sagal revealed.
Katey Sagal says it’s the ‘right time’ for a show like ‘Rebel’
Sagal describes her character as someone who stands up to injustice. But, she’s also someone who empowers others to do the same. For the 67-year-old, the show couldn’t be timelier.
“The hardest thing to do is to not get overwhelmed by the amount of injustice that seems to be in our faces these days. Everybody’s response is, ‘What can I do? I’m just one person,'” Sagal said. “The way to get people talking is one person at a time.”
She added that the world we’re living in right now is the perfect time to tell people not to give up. Sagal noted that “you have to persevere, and you have to be heard.”
Rebel airs Thursdays on ABC.