It’s funny how someone who was born in 1980 can already have distinct movements in his career, but it’s true of Charlie Hunnam. Like many young stars, when he first got cast, there was a sense that it was a tryout for real stardom. Certainly he made an impression in “Queer As Folk,” and when he was given a shot at American TV, I liked the result. “Undeclared” isn’t quite as great as “Freaks and Geeks,” but what is? It was a lovely funny well-observed college show, and the cast was very strong and very young. Roles followed in “Cold Mountain” and “Children Of Men” in small parts and “Green Street Hooligans” in a co-starring role that, unfortunately, just didn’t connect. The film has a lot of cool interesting things about it and is sort of a interesting miss, but certainly not the sort of thing that should stop a career cold.
Hunnam, though, disappeared until he showed up in “Sons Of Anarchy,” and that’s where he was born again hard. Since then, he did “The Ledge,” followed quickly by “Frankie Go Boom,” as well as “Deadfall,” the movie I sat down with him to discuss in the first place. It’s a small, confident neo noir story of two guys, a girl, a bag of money and some guns, and I’ll also have chats with Olivia Wilde and Eric Bana for you this week.
First, though, I had to ask Hunnam about the still-in-production “Pacific Rim,” directed by Guillermo Del Toro. There are a lot of cool people playing parts in “Rim,” including Ron Perlman, Charlie Day, Idris Elba, and Max Martini, and Hunnam has one of the best parts in the movie. He’s Raleigh, the Jaeger pilot who is pressed into service in partnership with Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi). It’s the first time he’s piloted since a tragic accident involving his brother, his former co-pilot, and being a Jaeger pilot with someone else… that’s about as intimate a relationship as there is. Jaegers are, in the film, giant robots built to fight gigantic monsters, and they are our last defense in a war we’re losing. As Jaeger pilots, you’re left and right brain, basically. You’re neurally linked and the two of you together are what power the thing. Hunnam and Kikuchi are going to be breakout stars in 2013, I’d wager, as it’s their human relationship that promises to give the Jaegers both the pilots and a heart, and as we sat down to talk, I told him that I firmly believe kids everywhere are going to be Charlie Hunnam fans come August.
He immediately started talking about how excited he is to see the film, and we talked about some of the finished footage that’s already locked and how good the movie’s looking. Somewhere in the midst of this, the cameras rolled, and Hunnam continued by talking about the experience of working with Guillermo Del Toro on the film. He’s as effusive as most actors are after working with him, and it’s always fun to run into someone who gets how crazy and amazing that energy is that Guillermo brings each day while he’s working on a film like this.
As we chatted about some of his other recent work, though, he talked about two projects he’s currently writing that he hopes will feature his “Sons Of Anarchy” co-stars, one written for Tommy Flanagan, one written for Ryan Hurst. These are both small projects that Hunnam thinks he can get financed. I really dig his enthusiasm and his centered perspective on both the business and the art of what he does. I have a feeling this second act for Hunnam is going to be a long and interesting body of work, because he seems energized by not only what he’s doing these days, but who he’s lucky enough to be be working with.
Seems like a damn fine moment to be Charlie Hunnam, eh?
“Deadfall” opens this Friday, December 7th.