British actor Charlie Hunnam initially gained fame in his home country for the original Queer As Folk, before scoring the biggest role of his career thus far as Jackson “Jax” Teller on the FX series Sons Of Anarchy, which goes into its sixth season.
We caught up with the 33 year-old actor at Comic-Con in San Diego and asked Hunnam that with the double threat of this and his role in Pacific Rim, does he feel the extra love this year.
“Yeah, it seems a lot of people seem pretty excited about Pacific Rim,” Charlie says, “Obviously, it came out a couple of weeks ago, so a lot of people have seen it, and I loved the film and the audience reaction has been fantastic.”
“I mean, people seem to really, really love what Guillermo [del Toro] did and like the movie, so I feel really proud of that,” he continues, “And of course, Sons Of Anarchy, I’m always proud of, this is my baby, and been like the greatest creative experience of my life. So it’s always exciting to come here and talk about the show.”
We asked Charlie what it is about Sons Of Anarchy that has made it such a huge hit with viewers in the past few years.
“People, just, I think it’s a tribute to Kurt [Sutter’s] amazing writing,” he surmises, “The people just love the show and it seems like once you start watching, it’s hard to stop. Kurt just sucks you in and people get attached to these characters and know what’s going to happen in their lives.”
“It’s fantastical in its way that there’s a lot of action and a lot of drama, but at the center of it, I think these people feel like real people that you can relate to,” Hunnam continues, “Jax is an outlaw and definitely kills the occasional person when they get on the wrong side of him, but most of his struggle is trying to figure out how to be a good father and how to be a good husband, and that’s stuff that everyone goes through everyday.”
We dissected the family relationship between Jax and his mother Gemma, played by Katey Sagal, and how focused such a gritty series is on family.
“I absolutely think, whether it’s The Sopranos or Sons Of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, any great dramas that deal with crime, I think it surprises people,” he says, “It makes the world accessible, and it makes the human journey more accessible to everyone, because you realize that everyone deals with the same issues. I know, I grew up with a lot of gangsters and criminals like my dad and all of his associates were not afraid to break the law, should we say. He spent a lot of time in prison and there’s this assumption from people that have never come across any type of criminal mentality or criminality that, ‘Oh, they’re the bad guys, and they’re just like the guys I wouldn’t have…’ and you realize that people make mistakes in their lives and they’re a product of their environment, but they’re all just human beings just trying to do the best they can.”
“My dad was a lifelong criminal and spent a lot of time in prison, but he’s also one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met, and I say that pretty objectively,” Charlie adds, “He was a really, really terrific human being, so I think a really interesting thing. And I think that Kurt does a really good job of balancing that in the show, showing these guys in all of their shadow light, but all of the goodness, too.”
One of the pivotal moments of the series was how the club still accepted member Juice Ortiz having had a black father. We asked Charlie if such a sentiment would be extended regarding if someone was gay.
“That’s an interesting question,” replies Hunnam, thinking, “I don’t know. I think that in such a violent world, I would almost anticipate there being more prejudice against homosexuality than color, but both in the world that we’ve created in Sons Of Anarchy have their prejudices, but its an interesting question. I really don’t know. I mean, I have a lot of gay friends and I have one gay friend in particular who’s one of the best fighters I know, so just because you’re gay doesn’t mean you can’t fight, you know what I mean?”