Charlie Hunnam has never been your typical kid next door. His father was a scrap metal merchant and a pretty well-known gangster in the Newcastle-upon-Tyne region in England, and while his mother was a business owner, she hailed from a family of artists. According to Showbiz Junkies, Charlie Hunnam owes his hard-boiled machismo personality to his father, while his bohemian and rather eclectic creative streak comes from his mother’s side. A quick glance at his work portfolio will attest to this fact.
Born in a working-class town, Charlie Hunnam grew up a tough kid with a sweet face. According to a report by Huffington Post, he was discovered drunkenly messing around in a shoe shop by the production manager of kids TV series Byker Grove. A year later in 1999, Charlie Hunnam landed his first major TV role when he was cast as a 15-year-old schoolboy Nathan Maloney in the progressive gay drama, Queer as Folk. When the show ended in 2000, Charlie Hunnam packed his bags and moved to LA, and he has never looked back since.
After small roles in U.S. teen drama Young American and Judd Apatow’s comedy series Undeclared, Charlie Hunnam made the jump to the big screen, starring alongside Katie Holmes and Zooey Deschanel in Stephen Gaghan’s thriller Abandon. The film bombed at the box office, and it failed to set Charlie Hunnam’s career ablaze.
In an ironic twist of fate, Douglas McGrath wanted Charlie Hunnam to play the title role in his Dickensian film Nicholas Nickleby; but the actor, having lived and worked in the U.S. for several years at that stage, had trouble speaking in the British accent. Finally, he worked with a dialect coach and the movie garnered accolades from several quarters for providing colorful entertainment, and Charlie Hunnam was especially praised for his acting.
Charlie Hunnam continued to act in films, returning to England to take the lead in Green Street Hooligans. According to the Independent, it was his role as football hooligan Pete Dunham that later convinced Kurt Sutter, the creator of Sons of Anarchy, to cast Charlie Hunnam as the protagonist of his show, Jackson “Jax” Teller.
From a baby-faced teenage sensation in Queer as Folk to the burly motorcycle club vice president in Sons of Anarchy, Charlie Hunnam proved to the world that he had it all in his repertoire. In an interview with Showbiz Junkies, he spoke about how he used to think about his father when playing Jax.
“I [thought] about my dad a tremendous amount while filming Jax.”
Next up for the talented actor is Guy Ritchie’s adaptation of the classic Camelot fable Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur, the shooting of which is already wrapped up. He will also be seen in Guillermo Del Toro’s gothic-fantasy Crimson Peak. And though Charlie Hunnam enjoys working in movies, he admitted his preference for TV in the interview with Huffington Post.
“I actually really prefer the pace and flow of working in TV. The challenges that are present in filmmaking I find much more difficult to navigate. But I don’t want to jump into another show right away because I need some freedom.”
Whether he works in films or TV, fans of Charlie Hunnam can look forward to some exciting times ahead.
[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]