“I feel as though the basic cable shows, not just in their grittiness but in the originality and daring of the storytelling, have really replaced independent film. … I think because of that, it’s really the golden age of TV.”
Don’t miss Charlie’s entire interview in full over at COLLIDER.COM
Collider: You’ve been playing a really interesting assortment of characters lately. Has the selection of projects you’ve done been intentional, in any way?
CHARLIE HUNNAM: I’ve just been trying to keep it fresh. Actually, that’s not even true. I haven’t been trying to do anything. I’ve just been going where my heart is. I have no big plan, other than unless I want to see the movie, I don’t want to act in it.
Was that really sparked by the departure of Ryan Hurst and the loss of Opie?
HUNNAM: For me, it had a massive effect, losing Ryan Hurst on the show. It had a really, really profound effect on me, creatively and personally. I think a lot of that was in line with what Jax would have been feeling, but also made me feel a real responsibility to Ryan Hurst, as me, to keep doing this and making sure that we get ours. I felt like we were headed, and Jax felt like we were headed, to a place where it was going to be me and Opie at the head of the table, and that got taken from us. I’ve had the deepest creative experience of my life on Sons of Anarchy, just because of the time we’ve spent playing these characters. They just get ingrained. Those relationships and those guys that I’ve worked with have just become my brothers and my family, so that was a very, very hard pill to swallow, for us to lose Opie.
And you’re currently writing something, right now?
HUNNAM: That’s the main reason why I took this six months off. I have this true story that I own the rights to, that I’m writing right now, and I just think it could be spectacular. I love this guy. It’s the true story of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, all-American Texas player who was dirt poor and grew up in Laredo. At eight or nine years old, he just had a total existential crisis. He looked around and was like, “This is shit! Where’s the intention? Everybody is just a slave to the social and economic demands of their life. Where’s the life here?” He said, “Fuck it! This is not going to be my life.” From eight to 17, he never smoked a cigarette, never drank a beer, never had a cup of coffee, and didn’t even look at a joint. He had total discipline. He wanted to get himself a football scholarship, go to college, use his time at college to get an education, escape poverty and live a meaningful life. He got the football scholarship to an Ivy League school when he was 17.
Ten days after he got the football scholarship, he got into an accident in his car and got charged with criminally negligent homicide because the other person died. He got sent to prison for two years, and he came out at 19 with all of that discipline and passion and hope for his future, and nowhere to put it. He said, “Fuck it! I’m going to start dealing drugs.” By the time he was 27, he was running the third biggest drug cartel in Mexico. It’s a fucking crazy story of the American dream gone wrong and the lengths that people will go to, to feel as though they’ve escaped the drudgery of everyday civilization.
Is that something you’re also looking to act in?
HUNNAM: I don’t know if I’m going to act in it or not. I’m making it with Legendary and Warner Bros. They bought the idea from me, and I’m writing it. We’ll see what we’re going to do. I really want to write it and produce it, so it gets made the way I want it to get made. I also have two other films in development that I’m writing and producing. And then, I have another one in development that I already have been working on for a long time. And then, the fifth thing I’m going to write is this film that I have for Tommy Flanagan, that I want to direct for him to star in. We want to go and make that for a million bucks in Britain. Tommy is just amazing. I just think he’s phenomenal. Some of the work he did this season (on Sons of Anarchy) was just breathtaking.