Charlie Hunnam is one funny dude. The star of the F/X hit series “Sons of Anarchy” has kept audiences and critics alike mesmerized by his intense portrayal of renegade biker Jax Teller, but when Hunnam enters the room for his interview with his megawatt smile and sunny disposition, he could easily pass for a California surfer. Hunnam was in high spirits to chat about his role in the highly anticipated summer blockbuster “Pacific Rim,” leaving the select group of reporters in attendance in stitches with his spot-on imitations of director Guillermo Del Toro and co-star Idris Elba.
Hunnam plays Raleigh Beckett, a former pilot of Gipsy Danger, a 250 story battle robot (called Jaegers) built to combat the mysterious Kaiju – monstrous sea creatures out to annihilate the human race. General Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) convinces Beckett to rejoin the fold as humanity’s last line of defense.
Hunnam gives us the scoop on his grueling workout regimen, the challenges of taking bathroom breaks, and how Idris really feels about on-set water sports.
What it was really like shooting those epic battle scenes in the Comm-pod…
Could they not green screen this? I mean it was horrible! It was like being on an elliptical 14 hours a day while wearing a suit of armor that weighed 40 lbs. while Guillermo is shooting fire at you and spraying 200 gallons of water over you. It was intense – I was in there for 27 days.
How he physically prepared to star in a summer blockbuster movie…
I was shooting “Sons of Anarchy” two and a half weeks before starting this. They said I had to look like a guy that was capable of saving the world. I mean Brad Pitt really f*cked it up for everyone because in “Fight Club” he looked so incredible, that he really raised the bar to this really lofty place of what is expected of everybody taking their shirt off in a movie. It was this amazing opportunity for me so I said to myself “Screw you if you’re tired!”
I would be on set for “Sons of Anarchy” 14-15 hours and I’d drive right by the exit to my house and go to the gym and worked out two hours every night for at least three months. For the stick fighting sequence I trained on the weekends, four hours Saturday and Sunday.
The challenge in maintaining his American accent in his scenes opposite Idris Elba…
I’ve had a lot of training with that. I work with Tommy Flanagan, an amazing Scottish actor, he’s a really good friend of mine. We actually grew up not too far from each other- he was in Glasgow, and I was in New Castle. We practice on set every day while shooting SOA, so I’ve gotten really good at that. But I’ve been doing this so long now, I don’t even know what my real accent sounds like (laughs).
Speaking of Idris….
Idris said to Guillermo “I’m not doing this! I’m an actor! I have a stunt double bro’, I’m not doing it with water. Don’t spray water on me!’ and Guillermo was like “Ok, ok cabron, no water’ and then whispered to the prop guys ‘Turn on all the water!’ At that point, Idris realized he just had to shut up and bear it cuz the more you push Guillermo, the more he’ll push back!
His thoughts on “ The Drift”
The concept of was really beautiful, which requires two people mind-melding, giving complete access to each other’s memories. That’s a very brave thing to do. I mean, I’ve been with my girlfriend a long time (seven years) and I love her like crazy but I still wouldn’t give her access to my mind; there’s too much sh*t in there I wouldn’t want her to know about.
His admiration for co-star Kinko Rikuchi…
Every dude in the cast, we thought we were tough guys, but once we were put in the Comm-pad, we were all crying like little baby girls. Rinko was in there for 16 days and I swear I never heard her complain once. She would just do the sequence and close her eyes, all zen like. So I asked her, “What are you thinking about in there?’ and she said ‘Chocolate and teddy bears!’ Meanwhile I’m thinking about all the different ways I could kick Guillermo’s ass!
The truth about those battle armor suits…
Well for one thing, they didn’t put a pee flap in there. It would take 45 minutes to get in and out of the suit and another 20 minutes to get into the Comm-pod. So if you wanted to pee, it would take an hour. Guillermo would be like ‘O-k, if you don’t want to finish the scene and cause us to go over budget…’ and I was like f*ck it, I’ll hold it!”
“Pacific Rim” opens in theaters nationwide July 12th
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