Charlie Hunnam Tells His Tale of Being King

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DA: You’re also set to appear in “Papillon,” which is a remake of a movie adaptation of a novel about the “75 percent-true” story of Henri Charrière. The book was an instant bestseller while the 1973 movie was a critical and commercial success. How do you think will moviegoers of 2017 react to this new remake?
Charlie Hunnam: I was initially reticent about the idea of remaking such a beloved film, but I was also a great fan of the director, Michael Noer. After several conversations with Michael we decided that because this is based on a “75-percent true” story, we had the opportunity to make an independent adaptation, exploring what interested us about the story and the world of the French Guiana prison colony. This liberated us from the concept of a remake. The process became very exciting after that and Michael and I spent a great deal of time researching that world to find what interested us most and how to make this story as relevant as possible to a modern audience. So, to answer your question more succinctly, I hope audiences will receive our film on its own merit and not get caught up in comparisons to the original adaptation.

DA: In real life as well as in the novel and the 1973 movie, Henri Charrière does earn his happy ending. Still, his adventure is quite tragic. How did you prepare to step into the shoes of a man like that?
Charlie Hunnam: I knew the process was going to be emotionally exacting. One thing that helped enormously was that we shot the film sequentially. That allowed for the relationship with the other characters and that harsh environment to grow day by day. I had to lose a lot of weight, which I had just done on my previous film, “The Lost City of Z,” so I knew that that in and of itself creates an emotional state that can be very helpful. Also, there is always a sense of responsibility that comes with playing real people that keeps one very focused. At the end of the day, you just have to show up and give it everything you have and hope for the best.

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DA: Of all the movies and TV shows you’ve done prior to these three, which ones have become the most important milestones in your career?
Charlie Hunnam: “Sons of Anarchy” was by far the most important. I became a man working on that show, and the majority of what I know about storytelling and acting I learned from that experience.

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DA: Last question: What was the most inspiring, badass or otherwise awesome line that you ever had the pleasure of saying in front of a camera?
Charlie Hunnam: In “Cold Mountain,” right before I killed the hero of the film, played by Jude Law. We are on the cusp of having a shoot-out and I say to him:
       Me: “You know what I got on my side?”
       Jude: “What have you got on your side?”
       Me: “The confidence of youth.”
And then I shoot him. Boom.

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Photography Mitchell Nguyen McCormack
Styling Lauren Larocca
Grooming Elie Maalouf at Jed Root
Fashion Assistant Courtney Leday
Videographer Pedro Correa

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