I couldn’t help going there because Apple’s first promo image for Shantaram showed you on a bike, and you’re on a bike (for about a second) in the trailer. You’ve talked about that a little bit, but how do you think the SOA audience will receive this show?
Charlie: [Smiles] I don’t even know who the Sons of Anarchy audience is. I get the sense that it’s actually more diverse than one might think initially from looking at the show. I occasionally go to Comic-Con events to see people, and the fanbase still seems very rabid for that show, but it is incredibly diverse. There’s a lot of young people coming to the show who didn’t see it the first time around, which is great. I hope that the audience shows up. I hope that they don’t show up with too much of an expectation that this is some sort of sequel to Sons of Anarchy. Because although one of the lead characters in both shows looks very similar, I think the comparisons really end for me. And listen, I understand. I’ve been sort-of poking fun at Apple a little bit. Apple’s the biggest, most powerful corporation in the world, so they can handle little old me poking fun at them a little. But I don’t know if that was the smartest idea to release that image because it did create a little bit of an expectation that I’m not quite sure we’re going to be able to deliver on, but I’m not the boss.
Both are dramatic and stressful shows, but it looks like you guys had fun, too.
Charlie: We did.
From the moment your character, Lin, hopped off that bus, and Shubham’s character, Prabhu, walked up to him, there was instant chemistry between you two. Had you guys familiarized beforehand, or did you go in cold?
Shubham: Oh, I hadn’t met Charlie! I hadn’t seen Sons of Anarchy. I still haven’t seen Sons of Anarchy! I hadn’t watched one minute of Charlie Hunnam’s work. I had no idea… [Laughs]… who he was until day one of shooting when we were shooting a kind-of key scene about our relationship, and there was a lot riding on it. Everyone was thinking, “Is this going to work?” It’s one of the main relationships of the heart of the show, and I entered. I had no idea what the hell I was going to do. And then I looked across, and there was another man who had no idea what the hell he was going to do. And I went, “Ahhh, we’re together in this. We both don’t know what to do.” And in that was just love, joy. Yeah, I had the time of my life with Charlie, and I think that’s what translated into the characters. And that’s kind-of the spirit with which we led the entire show. Or at least, I hope it translates because I had the time of my life with that man.
Speaking of life, there’s a quote that comes up near the season’s end. Lin says something to the effect of Shakespeare’s works answering all questions in life. Charlie, I’m bringing up SOA again because that was based upon Hamlet. How accurate do you find the notion that Shakespeare can explain everything?
Charlie: I think the quote is “All of the questions and most of the answers in life can be found in Shakespeare,” right? I don’t know… I like that notion. I have not read Shakespeare as much as I would like at this point. I’ve read, you know, the big titles and seen adaptations, so I’m not unfamiliar with Shakespeare, and obviously, he or they were master writers. So I would subscribe to that.
I like how you say, “They,” but I’m listening.
Charlie: I have friends that are true students of Shakespeare and incredibly well versed in Shakespeare and able to quote at will, and there’s seldom a situation that we’re in that they won’t find an appropriate quote to hammer me over the head with, so my experience with those people does lend me to believe that there’s some truth in that statement.
Shubham: Or that they’re just pretentious wankers.
Charlie: Right. I wouldn’t call you that, Shubham.
Shubham: Oh, you’ve revealed me! No, I absolutely love Shakespeare. I find, as an actor, that he gets my blood pumping when sometimes, it lies as still as a lake. Even when I don’t realize it, he sort-of brings me to life. And I think the questions and answers that Shakespeare deals with are the ones of limitless humanity. And I think when you’re looking at life on that kind of scale and humanity on that scale… that’s kind-of why I’m an actor. That’s why we do what we do, so yeah, I definitely subscribe to that.