Magazine article Screen International

Charlie Hunnam: Robert Pattinson Didn't Speak to Me during 'The Lost City of Z'

Magazine article Screen International

Charlie Hunnam: Robert Pattinson Didn't Speak to Me during 'The Lost City of Z'

Article excerpt

"I didn't know if he was just 'in that zone' or if he genuinely didn't like me."

Charlie Hunnam has come a long way since Channel 4 series Queer as Folk, one of his first roles.

The Newcastle-born actor rocketed to international fame after landing the lead in FX's Sons Of Anarchy, the network's highest-rated series to date, and has since become a star on the big screen despite dropping out of Fifty Shades Of Grey - something he "still feels bad about".

Hunnam has two major films out in the next few months; James Gray's biopic of British explorer Percy Fawcett The Lost City Of Z, and Guy Ritchie's big budget King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword, set for release in May.

We sat down with the actor during the Berlin Film Festival, when The Lost City Of Z screened out of competition, to discuss how he was given the silent treatment by Robert Pattinson, his extreme weight loss for the film, and Guy Ritchie's unorthodox shooting style.

Screen: When you first read James Gray's screenplay for The Lost City Of Z, what were your thoughts?

Charlie Hunnam: My initial reaction to reading James's script was one of total joy and terror. It was, bar none, the best script I've ever read. It felt to me like the biggest challenge I had been given so far so I wanted to immediately jump in and give it everything I had.

You had just finishing shooting Guy Ritchie's King Arthur: Legend of the Sword before The Lost City Of Z. Can you talk about that transition?

King Arthur was incredibly demanding: I was in almost every scene and shooting long hours. By the time we finished shooting, I only had ten days before I started shooting this. I was filled with panic. I used every second of that time to try and transform myself psychologically and physically because I was muscle bound and in action hero mode.

I went through this very rapid process of losing weight [approximately 60lbs in nine weeks]. I wanted to fill myself up with [Percy] Fawcett, I had been slowly and quietly researching. One of the things he admired most as a human characteristic was authenticity, and so it was important for me to put a level of myself into playing him, as much as honouring who I thought he was. I fell in love with Fawcett and felt a responsibility to do him justice.

What was it like working with Sienna Miller, Robert Pattinson and [Bafta Rising Star winner] Tom Holland?

I had a couple of rehearsal sessions with Sienna, but I didn't spend any time with Tom or Robert. I wanted these relationships to evolve naturally on screen. Through the work, I don't think I said more than ten words to Robert [Pattinson] off camera. I didn't know if he was just 'in that zone' or if he genuinely didn't like me. There was a real distance between us. But it creates the right dynamic on screen. He's reached out to me subsequently, making overtures for us to be friends now, so I think it was about the work.

How was working with James Gray, a director who is more known for his success in the independent sector [We Own The Night, Two Lovers] rather than larger scale action films?

James is my kind of director. There was no actual rehearsal in terms of reading scenes, but there were a lot of one-on-one conversations [mainly with James] discussing characters, themes and story. His understanding of narrative and the filmmaking process is so absolute. I felt freed to take risks. Some filmmakers start to make too many choices and the essence of your performance can be lost. But with James, I just knew he got it.

In terms of the size of a movie - that never matters because it is about the human journey in the middle of it. …

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