Category: Interviews

Charlie Stops by Last Call with Carson Daly (Screen Captures + Video)

Charlie Stops by Last Call with Carson Daly (Screen Captures + Video)

Charlie and his co-star Rami Malek were interviewed by Last Call with Carson Daly while doing press for their new film Papillon which aired on September 5th. In case you missed it you can check out high quality screen captures and video below:

Charlie Talks ‘Papillon’, Bouncing back and filming in Fall River with Boston Herald

BostonHerald.com — Filmed with a hefty solidity that befits an epic tale of survival and escape, the new PAPILLON (BUTTERFLY) starring Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek is an engrossing adventure story, set in the 1920s French colony of Guiana and adapted from the bestselling memoirs of Devil’s Island prisoner and escapee Henri Charriere.  A 1973 version of the story with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman at the height of their stardom was a massive success. Hunnam put himself thru personal hell, losing 40 pounds to better convey Charriere’s ordeal in solitary confinement — where he spent 8 days in silence.  The British actor remains best known probably for the SONS OF ANARCHY series. Thoughtful, perceptive about the business and the art of what he does, Hunnam, on the phone from LA’s Four Seasons Hotel, is also able to view Hollywood’s premature aging process with a sense of humor.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about why you think now is an ideal time for PAPILLON to come back?

Charlie Hunnam: I don’t know if there is necessarily an ideal time specifically, or if it was about it being an ideal time to tackle this material again. I think there was just a creative aspiration from the filmmaker to tell the story again. That’s really I think the key ingredient to making something interesting, is just having a director with a really clear vision who is excited and passionate about telling the story, and then assembles his team of like-minded people.

One of the things that we had discussed a little bit that makes it a little bit relevant to this time is wanting to explore the modern state of the American prison system and how it’s all been privatized and monetized over the last 20 years. Obviously French Guiana was, although not a privatized prison system, they had specifically sent those people out there to create an infrastructure in French Guiana to be able to make that place desirable for mass migration and immigration to that part of the world from mainland France. We thought that was something interesting that made it particularly culturally relevant right now, at least to an American audience.

 

Q: It’s slave labor, basically, right?

CH: Yeah, exactly. It’s slave labor.

 

Q: The workers have no choice. They’re sent there and they’re building this infrastructure without getting paid.

CH: Yeah, and they needed an enormous workforce in order to achieve the plan that they had and the timeframe that they had set out.  So just like the privatization and the building of these massive prisons, there’s a direct correlation in America to a big prison being built in an area and then just this clampdown on all crime in a hyper-vigilant way, in order to satisfy the demand of the cost of that prison to be run. Sort of the same thing was happening in France. They needed more workers than they had available through this avenue of enrollment, if you’d say, and got very, very fast and loose with giving out large sentences that would qualify for the mandate of what it would take to send these prisoners out to French Guiana. There’s definitely some similarities between those systems.

 

Q: How would you say specifically this film is different from the PAPILLON that Franklin J. Schaffner made in what was it, 1973?

CH: Again, I look at filmmaking acutely as a director’s medium. So the biggest single difference for me is a difference in sensibility of the filmmakers. Michael [Noer from Denmark] has a very modern sensibility. He comes from a documentary background and he has that hyper-real approach to filmmaking. His sensibility is very, very grounded and sort of true-life based. I think that’s the most singular difference for me. When I spoke to Michael Noer, I came into this project as a big fan of his, and that was the thing that got me most excited about the idea of working with him was the way he was talking about tackling the process. It was very free form. With no rehearsal.  Just trying to create an environment that feels as authentic as possible. Obviously it’s always a challenge with projects like PAPILLON just to figure out how to at least synthesize or approximate the experience that these men went through in a safe way that would inform us at least a little bit. It’s always going to be incredibly superficial compared to obviously what these men had to endure in reality. But the few things that we had discussed in terms of his process approach were quite exciting and got me really excited about working with him.

 

Q: That’s amazing. I had no idea that he was somebody who liked to say, “O.k. guys, let’s shoot and see what we come up with now”, rather than painstaking rehearsals.

CH: I think he went into his first couple of feature films with no script at all. He’s kind of like Mike Leigh in that way. When he did his film NORTHWEST, which for me is his best film (at least maybe prior to this one), he had this idea of a story about two brothers in Copenhagen that had aspirations to create a little criminal empire.  He hired two brothers from the neighborhood that they were shooting in, and shot in their house and hired their mom to play their mom. That was definitely his approach. Now he had to broaden it a little bit for this, because it was a much, much bigger scope and there’s a certain responsibility when you get entrusted with a much bigger budget like that, where the process can’t be quite as free form and fluid as you can be when you don’t have to answer to anybody.  But he still applies as much as that sort of renegade spirit as he could.

 

Q: Do you feel you accessed more information about Henri Charriere, who wrote his memoirs in two books, than you could put in this movie?

CH: The book that I referenced and kept going back to over and over was actually neither of the Henri Charriere PAPILLON books. I was much more interested in a book called THE DRY GUILLOTINE by Rene Belbenoit, which is an amazing account of another Henri man who was in the French Guiana prison system.  He was a journalist, so he had a much more analytical and journalistic approach to documenting his time and so for us to really understand — I mean PAPILLON is a wonderful narrative and beautifully written and really fun to read, but it’s an action adventure. THE DRY GUILLOTINE is a much more academic piece. Within that, you get a much more visceral experience through his writing of what it must have been like to be in French Guiana. That to me was the heat of it, just to try to create some sense of transportation into this environment. That’s I think what I got so excited about working with Michael Noer on this, because for him, it was all about trying to create an environment and trying to create an experience that would feel quite visceral for the audience. Continue reading

Video: ‘Papillon’ Press Interviews Collection

Video: ‘Papillon’ Press Interviews Collection

Charlie was busy promoting his latest film Papillon this month with co-star Rami Malek. Below you’ll find a video playlist of Charlie’s interviews for easy watching. 😉

Charlie Hunnam on ‘Papillon’, Watching His Work, and Reuniting with Tommy Flanagan

Charlie Hunnam on ‘Papillon’, Watching His Work, and Reuniting with Tommy Flanagan

Collider.com — From director Michael Noer and based on the international best-selling autobiographical books from Henri Charrière, the prison drama Papillon follows the epic and harrowing tale of a safecracker from the Parisian underworld, known as Papillon (Charlie Hunnam, in a compelling stand-out performance), who is framed for murder and condemned to life in prison on Devil’s Island. Unbreakably determined to regain his freedom by escaping, Papillon forms an unlikely bond with convicted counterfeiter Louis Dega (Rami Malek, in an equally compelling performance), who agrees to finance what will inevitably be a harrowing escape, in exchange for his own protection.

At the film’s Los Angeles press day, Collider got the opportunity to sit down and chat 1-on-1 with actor Charlie Hunnam, who talked about partnering with Michael Noer and Rami Malek to tell this story, why he initially turned this role down, how he’s glad that he finally decided to go all in, and the part he played in getting Tommy Flanagan (Sons of Anarchy) into the film. He also talked about which of his own movies he was able to watch and enjoy, after shooting it, wanting to become more proactive by reaching out to directors that he’d like to work with, not succumbing to the gravitational pull to the culture of Hollywood, the Ned Kelly movie he recently shot with director Justin Kurzel, why it’s been such a long journey to getting some of his own material into production, and signing on to do Jungleland with director Max Winkler.

Collider:  Really tremendous work in this! This seems like one of those projects where you really have to go all in, and there’s just no half-way.

CHARLIE HUNNAM:  Yeah, I think that’s right. Even just the logistics of making this film required such a consistent commitment. We shot six-day weeks, and long hours. Michael and I, and Rami [Malek], too, worked very, very closely on shaping the material, so we would get together on our seventh day, for hours and hours, and figure out what we were going to do, the following week. That required a lot of rewriting, and stuff like that. It was like a fever dream experience. We just literally did nothing but work and sleep, for about ten weeks, but I had great partners. I really just came to really love Rami and Michael, so it was pretty great to have that experience with them.

With everything you went through to do this, is it something where you can look back and go, “I’m really glad I had that experience,” or do you go, “What on Earth was I thinking?”

HUNNAM:  No, I’m really glad. To me, it’s just all about the process, about how I spend my time, and if I feel nourished, day-to-day. I was born a bit of an existential fuck, so I think, as we all do, that there’s an enormous amount of suffering involved in the human experience. You’ve got to figure out a way to balance the scale. When I’m working on something that I’m really excited and passionate about, I just feel deeply fulfilled. It’s why I don’t ever really like to watch a film after. I like the experience to exist in a pure way, in my mind. Watching a film breaks that spell because I look at it from the outside, as opposed to having the experience of it from the inside.

Is there anything of yours that you’ve watched, where you’ve enjoyed the experience of watching something you were in?

HUNNAM:  Only ever once, and that was The Lost City of Z. I really enjoyed that. I watched it twice, [which was a mistake]. I got greedy. I had such a lovely time when I watched it the first time, and then I watched it the second time, and it was the wrong environment. I know that this is a discussed phenomenon, but I had never experienced it as acutely, how different a film can play in different environments with different audiences. It’s extraordinary. My first time seeing it, I watched it in an environment, where it was a very small group of filmmakers, and I really, really, really loved it. I got transported, and I really forgot about myself. I was just in the film. And then, I watched it again in England at a premiere at the Natural History Museum with the upper class, snobby elite of London society, and it was just an excruciating experience. It was so weird.

I know that you hesitated before signing on for this. What caused that hesitation, and what got you past that hesitation?

HUNNAM: It’s funny, it was multi-dimensional, my hesitation. There’s a long process to get a film across the line, to actually get it into production. More and more, I’ve found that since I’ve become an element that can help the financing, I see scripts in an earlier stage, and it’s always a crap shoot whether the work is going to actually be done because it’s an inexact science. There were some fundamental problems with the script, so I had misgivings about being able to fix it. That was compounded by the fact that we were putting ourselves up in a very precarious situation, remaking such a beloved film. Once a film is made, it’s just the nature of our culture that the book is irrelevant, to a certain degree. The reality lives much more weighted towards the film. You can make the very compelling argument that this isn’t a remake, he was a real man, and this is an independent adaptation of the source material, but the world is just not going to view it that way. The tricky thing for me was that I just really loved Michael [Noer]’s work, but I did initially turn it down, and another actor that I really respect took the role. It was one of the few times where I’ve really regretted turning something down. And then, it didn’t work out with that actor, and they came back to me and I ended up finding a path into it.

Do you think you would have gone to see the movie, if that other actor had stayed in it and you hadn’t done it?

HUNNAM:  Yeah, I think I probably would have. I am genuinely an enormous fan of Michael’s, predating this. It’s been four or five years of very closely watching what he was doing, since his debut film came out and I saw it in the theater in London. So, yeah, I probably would have. Continue reading

Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek’s ‘Papillon’ Is “Somewhat of a Love Story”

Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek’s ‘Papillon’ Is “Somewhat of a Love Story”

Variety.com — When the autobiographical novel “Papillon” was published in France in 1969, it was hailed as “the greatest adventure story of all time” — and that description set the tone of the 1973 film adaptation starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman as two prisoners trying to escape a penal colony in Guiana.

But Michael Noer, the Danish director of a new remake starring Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek taking on the parts played by McQueen and Hoffman, respectively, says he had more than an action/buddy movie in mind while shooting the real-life drama about Parisian safecracker Henri “Papillon” Charrière (Hunnam), who was framed for murder and formed an unlikely friendship with counterfeiter Louis Dega (Malek) while planning his escape from the penal colony in the 1940s.

Noer envisioned an unlikely love story of inmates-turned-soulmates.

“That was the first thing I wrote on the side of the pages as I was skimming through the script: The chance to make not only a film about friendship but also a film about love,” Noer told Variety on Sunday night before a screening at the London West Hollywood hotel. “Because in friendship you can say that you’re bound only to a certain extent, but in love, you’re bound good and bad. You can hurt each other much more than you can just in a friendship. It starts off with they detest each other, [then] try to build a friendship and at the end, I’d say that they’re molded together into one. This is told through the lead, Charlie, and Rami, as supporting, but they’re both extremely important in creating this bond. Because I truly believe that they are one.”

Granted, heads do roll in “Papillon” (French for butterfly) due to the guillotine, but more importantly, hearts flutter between the co-stars.

“One thing Charlie and I looked at [was] ‘You know, we could do a prison escape movie, which is entertaining, and that’s the deal here — we have to entertain — but at the same time to have something going on where two human beings are searching for themselves and [it’s] somewhat of a love story,” Malek said. “The desire and need to be with one another, to overcome certain aspects of themselves, and to discover what it is to have hope and joy.”

While Noer doesn’t shy away from sex, as well as affection, between male convicts, it’s not quite a tropical “Brokeback Mountain” either. Hunnam, however, appreciates his director’s description as a love story between two men.

“I think that’s really accurate,” he said. “For me, what I’ve always been very interested in is the human condition and how we overcome adversity in our lives. Because as all of the religious teachers have taught us: We’ll have to encounter enormous hardship and tragedy and injustice and disappointment and, you know, broken hearts in our lives. That can become overwhelming — I feel that very acutely in society now as much as, if not more than, ever.”

“The question is: How do you weigh the balance?” Hunnam added. “And so I thought this was a really interesting and grand backdrop to explore that fundamental question: How do you make life make sense in the face of the inevitable, axiomatic rule that life is suffering? And so it’s about friendship and belief and faith and love. Those things — like community and friendship and within that, the love that comes — is of paramount importance. And ultimately that’s the message of this film.”

As it turns out, the male bonding blossomed into bromance off the red carpet, too: Before taking his seat in the front row of the theater, Malek couldn’t resist spanking his co-star on the bum.

Video: Inside Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek’s ‘Brutal’ Experience Filming Nude Shower Fight in ‘Papillon’

Video: Inside Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek’s ‘Brutal’ Experience Filming Nude Shower Fight in ‘Papillon’

‘Papillon’s’ Charlie Hunnam admits to butterflies over Steve McQueen role

‘Papillon’s’ Charlie Hunnam admits to butterflies over Steve McQueen role

BostonHerald.com — “Papillon” — French for “butterfly” — is adapted from the memoirs of Devil’s Island prisoner turned escapee Henri Charriere and stars Charlie Hunnam (“Sons of Anarchy”) and Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot” and up next as Queen’s Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody”).

The 1973 “Papillon” had Steve McQueen, Golden Globe nominated as Charriere, and Dustin Hoffman as Louis Dega, his meek, intellectual prison pal.

Hunnam, 38, called the physically demanding “Papillon” “a lot of fun” and praised his “great” Danish director Michael Noer.

He also acknowledged contending with a film version that was critically praised and beloved.

“Obviously, we’re going to have to endure the inevitable, relentless comparison,” he said.

“But through the creative process, we never really felt beholden or as though we were making a remake. We always approached it as though it was an independent adaptation.”

Was he worried about stepping into Steve McQueen’s formidable shoes?

“No, there wasn’t that at all,” he began before correcting himself.

“That’s not true. Initially, I thought that it was maybe a lofty aspiration to be remaking such a beloved classic film with such an incredibly talented guy in the lead role. But ultimately it’s a true story. Henri Charriere was a real man. It’s a great amount of source material — but the more I started looking into that world, the greater the distance from that original film.

“Then through conversations with Michael Noer, who has a very different dramatic sensibility, it just started to feel as though the two films weren’t going to be connected at all.

“Other than sharing the source material — and the same name.”

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