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24 September 2014

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The Charlie Hunnam interview
Charlie Hunnam
Plenty to smile about - Charlie Hunnam
BBC Tyne caught up with local lad Charlie Hunnam for a quick natter during his whistlestop promotional tour of his latest movie Nicholas Nickleby.
Hollywood on Tyne

Nicholas Nickleby
Charlie Hunnam Online Shrine
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He's come a long way since Byker Grove ... Charlie Hunnam has achieved what many British actors can only dream of ... making it in Hollywood.

On a rare trip back home to his native North East, Charlie Hunnam took time out to talk to BBC Tyne about the hectic life of a movie star.

What attracted you to the role of Nicholas Nickleby?
First of all, I became aware of the cast that Doug (Director) had put together. I was one of the last actors cast in the film. Then I read the script that writer/director, Doug McGrath had written and it was a really remarkable adaptation. I was a little bit wary of playing Nicholas. In the script, which I think is true of the novel and the film, he's the only character not singing and dancing in a musical style. Playing someone who is the personification of good is a little difficult. I wondered if I could play the part, but then I thought f**k it, everything he does in it, I would have done, had I been in the same situation. If I'd seen a grown man beating a crippled boy, of course I'd intervene. If my father died and left my mother destitute, it's your instinct to take care of her. So when I started to think about it in those terms, it started to make sense to me.

In your acting career so far, you have played a mixture of villains and heroes, which do you prefer?
It depends. It's generally more fun playing the villain. I really enjoyed working on Cold Mountain, the last movie I just did where I played this Albino. This guy was ostracised his whole life, suddenly finds himself in the Home Guard where the job in the Civil War was to track down and kill all deserters and to deter others from deserting. That gave us some juicy stuff to do, like riding horses and shooting guns. I trained for three and a half months in gymnastics because I had to do a backflip off a 6ft fence - fun stuff!

Charlie as Nicholas Nickleby
Charlie as Nicholas Nickleby

You have worked with an all star cast in Nicholas Nickleby and the upcoming Cold Mountain, who else would you like to work with?
A lot of directors, in terms of actors there are too many to name. There are a lot of good English directors I'd like to work with like Ridley Scott, Mike Figgis and Mike Leigh.

In Nicholas Nickleby, your co-star was Jamie Bell, a fellow Geordie, was there a lot of talk of the toon on set.
Not so much, a lot of talk of Emimem though. he's pretty obsessed with Emimem and rap.

Interesting method, one minute he's playing this Dickensian cripple and hobbling around then the next minute they call cut, he's got his headphones back on reciting all the words from Emimem verbatim.

Are you a fan too?

I love hip hop music, I make hip hop music. I'm an Eminem fan, he's a good MC but I like Wu Tang Clan, they're more my flavour.

You mentioned you like making music, is that a direction you would like to take in the future?
No, I do a bunch of things to entertain myself. I paint, I make music, I take photographs. In a work capacity I'm only interested in acting and producing. I don't want to direct. I'm happy being an actor, it's what I have always wanted to do. I'm just lucky I got to do it so early.

So, what's it like to be back on Tyneside?
I've only been here three hours so far but I have tomorrow off and I'm here with my girlfriend who's never been to Newcastle so we're going to walk around and see the sights. I haven't really been here in five years so it will be nice to see what's popped up.

Is there any old haunts you plan to revisit?
Yeah, there is this really nice bakery called Mistletoe bakery in Jesmond that I love so I'm going to go and get some goodies.

it's still 24 hours...
oh, there were so many drunken and belligerent stops there in the night.

Baked beans
Charlie loves his beans

What else do you miss?
I miss my mum and my little brothers, Heinz Baked Beans, snowballs, HP sauce, toasted teacakes and Birds Eye Potato Waffles.

So, what's next for Charlie Hunnam?

I don't know, there are three or four movies shooting in September where there is mutual interest. I just have to figure out which one to pursue. I'm on the tailend of a six month break where I didn't do a single audition or meeting, just chilled, so I'm keen to get back to work - I've got a mortgage to pay!

All about Charlie
Born: 10 April 1980
TV : Byker Grove, My Wonderful Life, Microsoap, Queer as Folk, Young Americans (US) , Undeclared (US)
Films: Whatever happened to Harold Smith, Abandon, Nicholas Nickleby
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