Charlie Hunnam is no stranger to the paparazzi. Between his role as Jax Teller on Sons of Anarchy to his brief involvement in Fifty Shades of Grey, Hunnam has made quite the name for himself in Hollywood. With his new film, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, prepping for a big release, director Guy Ritchie opened up about casting Hunnam to play the legendary king.
According to USA Today, Ritchie wasn’t planning on casting Hunnam for the part. Not only had Ritchie not watched any of Hunnam’s work – which also includes the lead on The Lost City of Z – but he was also unimpressed by his good looks. That all changed when Hunnam met Ritchie face-to-face and auditioned for the part.
“He never seems to carry more than six percent body fat. When he first took his top off, I was horrified. Usually, I have to work with actors and they take their top off and I’m horrified in the wrong way,” Ritchie admitted. “But Charlie walked in all pleased with himself with his 26-pack ready to rumble.”
Hunnam didn’t get his chiseled physique the easy way. In an interview with Channel 24, the actor revealed that he added over 20 pounds of muscle for the movie and spent hours every day in the gym. He even changed his diet to feature more protein for muscle building and mixed up his exercise routine to include boxing, stunts, and sword fighting. All of this training helped him prepare for the role and won over Ritchie’s favor.
Although Charlie Hunnam makes it sounds like he focused a lot on the physical aspect of his character, E! News reports that Ritchie blasted Hunnam for his fitness tales. Hunnam claims that he did a thousand push-ups a day to get ready for the King Arthur role – but Ritchie isn’t buying it.
Ahead of the premiere of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Ritchie poked fun and Hunnam’s fitness claims and says that he probably only did around 50 on a good day – and slipped in a half hour break in between sets. Even if Hunnam was exaggerating a little bit on the push-ups, it’s clear that he was in incredible shape for the movie.
Ritchie’s take on the English tale is a dark and supernatural one, complete with a grittier King Arthur and fantastical creatures. Hunnam, who once auditioned for the part of Thor, fits this version perfectly. Even though Ritchie had a clear vision of what he wanted the film to feel like, Hunnam revealed they ended up with an entirely different product.
“We set out to make a different film than we ended up with,” Hunnam shared. “Guy had wanted to do something creatively that was a departure from what he’d been doing over the last few movies, [but] everybody sort of got into the Guy Ritchie cheeky, fun mentality.”
Things changed so much that Ritchie was forced to re-shoot scenes several scenes to keep everything consistent. This is usually a bad sign for a movie, especially one with a large budget, but Hunnam assured everyone that the tweaks added a sense of “fluidity” to the movie.
What did Hunnam think of the film after screening it?
“I had to watch it a couple of times to start to appreciate what it was as opposed to what my expectation of it was going into it,” he revealed. “It’s really fun. It delivers, I think and I hope, what people would want from a Guy Ritchie version of King Arthur.”
Fans can watch Charlie Hunnam in action when King Arthur: Legend of the Sword premieres May 12 in theaters everywhere, check out the latest preview below.
[Featured Image by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images]