Charlie Hunnam Tells His Tale of Being King

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DA MAN: In playing the legendary Arthur Pendragon, what kind of ideas did you incorporate into your depiction of the character? Or perhaps: How did you create your King Arthur?
Charlie Hunnam: Guy and I wanted him to be a regular lad from the streets who has carved out a nice little life for himself. He’s cocky as hell, which comes partly from the confidence that he is living by his wits and fists and doing very well, but also partly as a defense mechanism to cover the fear he lives with from his internal demons. Overcoming those demons and knowing that one’s own ego is our only real obstacle was the most exciting element in our exploration of who our Arthur is. I looked at [UFC Lightweight Champion] Conor McGregor for a lot for inspiration. He’s a cocky dude, but also clearly a great student of the laws of self-actualization. I saw an interview where he was talking about his competition and said something like, “There is no opponent; I’m fighting myself in the octagon.” That’s basically the lesson that Arthur has to learn in this film.

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DA MAN: Before appearing in cinemas as King Arthur, though, we’ll see you playing as Colonel Percy Fawcett in “The Lost City of Z,” which is based on a true story. Can you give us a short primer on what the movie is all about?
Charlie Hunnam: Like you say, “The Lost City of Z” is the true story of Percy Fawcett, who was a great British explorer at the beginning of the 20th century. He was actually the inspiration for Indiana Jones. Our film centers on his obsession to find and prove the existence of El Dorado—or as he called it, the Lost City of Z [pronounced “zed”]—an ancient sophisticated civilization deep in the heart of the Amazon.

DA MAN: Early reviews from critics who have seen the movie have been almost universally positive. In your opinion, what is it that makes “The Lost City of Z” a great movie?
Charlie Hunnam: It’s a great story with deep relatable themes. It’s about family, hope, determination and ultimately the price of obsession and the conflict that personal fulfillment creates between the other responsibilities in our lives—in Percy’s case: being a good father and husband. In addition to being a great story, it is magnificently directed by James Gray. In a film environment dominated by special effects-driven spectacles and archetypal central characters, as opposed to real multi-dimensional people, this film is a return to classic epic story telling. I think audiences are hungry once again for this type of filmmaking.

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DA MAN: What went through your mind when you first learned that you would spend a couple of months in Colombia for filming the jungle scenes?
Charlie Hunnam: I was overjoyed by the opportunity to be part of this type of filmmaking and determined to do everything in my power to make my contribution to the film as impactful as possible. Shooting in the jungles of Colombia just added to my ability to commit 100 percent to the process, as we were completely removed from the distractions of our everyday lives. On a non-work level, it was also wonderful to experience that environment. We went to places that were far off the travel guide.

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Outfit by John Varvatos, boots by Represent

DA MAN: On the flip side, what went through your mind when you learned that your Colombian adventure was about to end?
Charlie Hunnam: There is always a period of mourning to have to let a character go after spending so much time getting to know, living with and hopefully coming to love that person. Plus, the deeper one gets into a process, the more distance is created from one’s personal life. Reintegration can be extremely difficult. This was one of the deepest experiences I have had, so the extrication was accordingly painful. But, I was also proud of what we had done and knew that we had put everything we had to give to the process, so there was also a sense of satisfaction.

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