KING OF THE STREETS. English actor Charlie Hunnam chats with DA MAN about the new, epic stories he will bring to life in the months to come
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When you’ve played one of TV’s most popular anti-heroes and the most badass giant robot pilot ever to grace the silver screen, how can you ever top that? Well, Charlie Hunnam—who played outlaw biker Jackson Teller in hit TV series “Sons of Anarchy” and Jaeger pilot Raleigh Becket in the widely-acclaimed “Pacific Rim,” among many others—is set to do just that this year with at least three major movie appearances. It starts with the epic “The Lost City of Z” which is based on a true story this April, followed closely by “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” where Hunnam brings out a more street-smart version of the legendary king this May. Later this year, he will also appear in “Papillon,” a remake of the immensely popular 1973 movie of the same name. And here to share the stories-behind-the-stories of these highly-anticipated titles is the star of all three himself.
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DA MAN: Hi, Charlie. “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” is set to hit theaters this May. What would you say is the number-one reason to go see this movie when it comes out?
Charlie Hunnam: Because it’s a cool, fun, fresh, original, badass, two-hour extravaganza. We have magic, fighting, pretty girls, pretty boys and a sh-tload of laughs. [Chuckles] If I had to sum it up with one adjective it would be “fun!”
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DA MAN: We did a bit of research, and found that film adaptations of Arthurian legend date back all the way to 1904. What will this 2017 version do differently from its predecessors?
Charlie Hunnam: Guy’s [director Guy Ritchie] sensibility as a director is very contemporary, so the style and tone of the film is completely fresh for this genre, and the story itself is very different from any of its predecessors. Arthur has always been portrayed as the noble man, who goes on a noble quest to become a noble king. Guy said, “let’s make Arthur a motherf—-r.” We are only telling the first chapter of the story, so making Arthur conflicted, angry and scared at the beginning gives greater breadth to his journey and makes for a more interesting character.
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DA MAN: You famously said that you would do 500 push-ups a day to prepare yourself for the role. And you also offered to fight the other two finalists—Henry Cavill and Jai Courtney, if we’re not mistaken—when the issue of King Arthur’s physicality came up again and again. Were you really that confident that you could take on Superman and Captain Boomerang at once?
Charlie Hunnam: [Laughs] Are you trying to get me into a fight? Okay, I’ll answer in order. Yes, I did an enormous amount of push-ups while making this film. Not always 500, sometimes less, sometimes more. The most I ever did was 1,050 in a day. There were also days I did none. With regards to fighting the competition … Sure, I’d take them both on. I actually didn’t know who the other dudes were but I love a good fight, and Guy kept pestering me about how skinny I was at the time. So, I said “F–k it, let me fight for the role.” All in good fun, though. I respect both those guys; I’m not trying to start any trouble. In the immortal words of RZA, “I’m vegetarian, b—h, I don’t want the beef.”
DA MAN: On a more serious note, you did bulk up impressively. How, exactly, did you do it?
Charlie Hunnam: In the usual way, nothing exciting. I ate enormous amounts of food and worked out like a bastard every day. I prefer calisthenic-style exercises, so the majority of my training was pull-ups, push-ups, dips and non-weighted squats. I also boxed every day and did a bit of jiu-jitsu.