come a long way since Byker Grove ... Charlie Hunnam has achieved
what many British actors can only dream of ... making it in Hollywood.
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.
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?
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!
as Nicholas Nickleby
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.
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?
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?
there is this really nice bakery called Mistletoe bakery in Jesmond
that I love so I'm going to go and get some goodies.
still 24 hours...
oh, there were so many drunken and belligerent stops there in the
loves his beans
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!
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