Right at the moment Charlie Hunnam is busy with his family, his girlfriend and various film projects, but he’s staying out of the limelight that so many would give so much to be in. Rather than immersion in media people with questions and cameras, the British actor has opted out of a role that guaranteed him all the attention anyone could want – but much more than he bargained for and apparently more than he wants.
At the age of 32, Charlie is pretty sure of what he doesn’t want, such as being perceived as a ‘pretty boy’ or a wuss of any sort; what he does want is to be taken seriously as an actor. He got his start in that direction when he was ‘discovered’ by a producer of the children’s show ‘Byker Grove’. Charlie was 17 at the time, and at 18 he moved on to drama in the TV show ‘Queer as Folk’, a gay-themed series that got very positive reviews but ran for only 10 episodes.
Though he’s a native Brit (born in Newcastle, April 10, 1980) Hunnam has spent a lot of his career (so far) in American television productions. He was in the series ‘Young Americans’, in the highly praised but short-lived series ‘Undeclared’ and as the star of Nicholas Nickleby – a role that contributed to his determination to change his image. Charlie went on to roles in Cold Mountain, Abandon, Green Street, Children of Men, Sons of Anarchy, Deadfall and other notable roles.
In 2012 Charlie had a starring role in Pacific Rim, which may have been another turning point in his career, at least in retrospect. When the film opened in 2013, Charlie Hunnam was definitely the star, though his role as Raleigh took a back seat (according to some critics) to the robotic demolition that pretty much defined the movie. However it served to strengthen the actor’s determination to choose his roles for their depth and challenge.
Possibly the most dramatic move Charlie Hunnam has made at this point in his career is to drop out of the highly anticipated film Fifty Shades of Grey. The book that spawned the movie is the first in a trilogy by British author E. L. James and in spite of scathing reviews from most critics; it’s been enormously popular worldwide – surpassing even Harry Potter in sales. Charlie was tapped for a starring role opposite Dakota Johnson, but in October last year he bowed out of the picture.
The fact is, Fifty Shades of Grey (the book) is loosely classified as ‘soft porn’ and it seems that’s not part of the self-image that Charlie is seeking. He told interviewers that family matters (his father died last year) and his continued involvement with Sons of Anarchy, now in its sixth season, were the basic reasons. He said he wants to “. . .do a good job at work. . .” and keep his priorities in order.
In another interview a few years ago when Hunnam was working in Children of Men, Charlie told Stumped magazine that he’s more interested in making ‘good’ movies than in the sort of celebrity that means constant invasion of privacy. He said, “I want to work with sensible people who are looking to make serious films with integrity, and who are looking to make great quality movies.” He added that he doesn’t wish “. . . to be involved in making disposable shit.”
When the right parts don’t come along, says Charlie, he just doesn’t work – and he has had a few stretches of not working, but he’s very much involved in a couple of projects right now. He’s set to star in director Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak, which is scheduled for release in October next year, and he is still committed to Sons of Anarchy, now filming its final episodes according to the latest reports.
As for his personal life, Charlie tends to keep it quiet. He’s in a long-term (seven year) relationship with a non-actress named Morgana McNelis. Morgana is a jewellery designer by trade and prefers to stay in the background of Charlies’s unavoidable celebrity moments. Like Charlie, she says that ‘quality’ is the most important aspect of her work; she wants her jewellery to last a lifetime and more. It would seem that Charlie and Morgana feel the same about their chosen professions.
Charlie Hunnam’s First Day In LA – The Tonight Show