People.com — Charlie Hunnam is reflecting on Sons of Anarchy’s impact over a decade after the series premiered.
Speaking to PEOPLE ahead of the release of his new film Jungleland, the 40-year-old actor opened up about how the hit FX drama launched his career.
“Well, frankly, it gave me a career,” Hunnam says. “And it gave me the ability to have confidence that I was going to be able to make [acting] work as a lifelong career.”
Hunnam starred as Jax Teller in the motorcycle gang show, which chronicled the lives of a close-knit motorcycle club that operated in a fictional Californian town. The series also starred Katey Sagal, Tommy Flanagan and Ron Perlman.
Looking back at his time on the show that made him a household name, the Newcastle, England native says it was almost like a college experience for him.
“I think I went into Sons of Anarchy being a pretty unaccomplished actor in terms of my skill set,” he says. “I wasn’t one of these people that were born enormously and innately talented. I had to really cultivate a skill set.”
“And where I cultivated a lot of that skill set was going to work and shooting 10 pages a day on Sons of Anarchy for seven years,” he continues. “I feel like that was my college days.”
Hunnam adds: “I went in knowing very little about the process of acting and came out knowing a little bit more.”
Now, six years after the series concluded, Hunnam says he’s often asked whether or not he would ever reprise his most famous role. But “I would never, ever put that cut back on,” he says. “I would never put his rings back on. Not even for Halloween.”
“It was a very deep experience,” he explains. “I lived with that character inside me for years, like, in a very real way. In a way that manifested in ways that I could never even [have] imagined.”
“He’s dead now,” he adds. “So there would be no ever bringing him back … When he died, he died.”
These days, Hunnam is now enjoying life and taking things day by day amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with a renewed focus on creativity.
“I’ve been writing a great deal, which has been something that I’ve been sort of doing tangentially to my acting career for quite a while,” he says. “I’ve been writing 85 hours a week for the last seven months.”
Next up, in addition to Jungleland, Hunnam will head back to television screens with the previously announced series, Shantaram. And despite his many movie undertakings since the end of Sons of Anarchy, the actor notes that he does prefer TV roles over film ones.
“I really like long-form storytelling,” he says. “The experience of working with a group of actors for a long period of time is really, really exciting and rewarding.”
Jungleland opens in select theaters on Friday and hits video on demand platforms on Tuesday.