While former “Sons of Anarchy” star Charlie Hunnam is currently stealing hearts as King Arthur in Guy Ritchie’s upcoming film “Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur,” the actor was very close to bringing another literary figure to life – Christian Grey. Now, the actor is opening up a bit more about why he exited the “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie in 2013.
For those that are unfamiliar, Hunnam was cast as the title character before stepping away from the project in 2013. Although he was later replaced by “Once Upon a Time” star Jamie Dornan, the actor’s abrupt exit from the movie adaptation of E.L. James’ massively popular book adaptation caused many to assume the worst. However, it turns out that the 35-year-old actor didn’t back out for any nefarious reason, he simply had too much on his plate. Recently speaking to Entertainment Weekly about his decision to leave the film, Hunnam revealed that the knowledge that he disappointed people with his exit still upsets him today.
“It was very, very painful for me, that whole process, just very unpleasant,” Hunnam told EW. “I felt like I let myself down. I let those people down on 'Fifty Shades' that I’d grown to really love and respect. It’s just a really unpleasant period of time for me.”
In 2014, the actor confessed to Us Weekly that he allowed himself to get overwhelmed with projects and stretched his own acting abilities way too thin. At the time he was supposed to start “Fifty Shades of Grey,” he was also wrapping up the final season of FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” and committed to Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak.”
"I was going to finish [filming] 'Sons' at like 11 p.m. Friday night, get on the plane Saturday morning to Vancouver for 'Fifty,' missing the whole first week of rehearsal and start shooting Monday morning," Hunnam told the outlet. "And I was going to shoot that film, wrap that on the Wednesday and the following Monday I was going to start shooting 'Crimson Peak' in Toronto. I just had like ... frankly, something of a nervous breakdown."
While Hunnam may have been trying to do the character of Christian Grey justice by allowing someone who could commit better to the role to take over, he still left both fans and the studio high and dry with his abrupt exit. In the end, he attributes it to a rookie Hollywood mistake saying that young actors with a star on the rise tend to take any work that comes their way while it’s coming their way – even when that means taking too much. Luckily, with Hunnam moving forward as King Arthur and the “Fifty Shades” franchise a decided success, everything seemed to work out for the best.