With Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim opening this weekend, I recently landed an exclusive interview with Charlie Hunnam at the press junket. During the interview he talked about doing the interview during a huge parade outside the hotel, his reaction to seeing Pacific Rim for the first time, working on the huge practical sets, what he collects, Sons of Anarchy, Crimson Peak, and a lot more. Hit the jump for what he had to say.
Finally, If you missed any of my set visit coverage, be sure to check out my video blog recap with 20 things to know, plus extended on set interviews with Guillermo del Toro, Charlie Day, Ron Perlman, and executive producer Callum Greene.
CHARLIE HUNNAM: I just found out the other day and boy was I excited about it.
They don’t do parades for movies that often.
HUNNAM: No, I know. It made us feel very special and welcome.
Last time I spoke to you for this I was looking forward to it, now that I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it twice, the movie’s it’s awesome. When the Jaegers and the Kaiju are fighting onscreen the movie is fucking insane.
It’s just unbelievable. Obviously you’re so involved, you see these huge practical sets, and you think it’s going to be good, it’s Guillermo, but you never really know. What’s your reaction the first time you’re in that theater watching it when it’s finally done?
HUNNAM: I haven’t seen it in a theater yet. I watched it on a pretty big screen, like a fifty-inch screen in Guillermo’s office on the Warner Brothers back lot and I just came out felling this overwhelming sense of for the first time ever actually being a part of Hollywood. Like big Hollywood filmmaking at its best. The sun was shining, I was on the Warner Brothers’ lot, which is the coolest lot of all of them, and I came out and I thought, “Holy shit, that’s a real slice of Hollywood.” I had no doubt that all of the monster fighting, the Kaiju-Jaeger battles were going to be epic, and exciting, and ferocious, and all of that, but what I was really taken with was how well the human story worked. And more so than any of that just how detailed and immersive the world that Guillermo had created was. I really felt like I was transported to another world, you know?
I fully agree. I just posted the B-roll yesterday, the behind the scenes footage, which shows the machines you guys were in the practical sets, how massive it was. Talk a little bit about the challenges of doing that stuff and the huge practical sets.
HUNNAM: It was a blessing. I was so relieved when I heard that Guillermo had planned to shoot as much as possible practically. Because I was a little intimidated by the idea of all this green screen. Then I actually got to work and did some of the green screen stuff and realized that the environment isn’t nearly as important as the people that you’re acting with. Idris and Rinko and everyone were bringing such their a-game that it didn’t really throw me at all, the green screen of it. And then we got into con pods specifically, that I was so excited that we were going to shoot practically, it was just an absolute fucking nightmare.
HUNNAM: It really was. Rinko was in there maybe 15 or 16 days or something. Don’t even let those guys fill you with sob stories. Idris was in there 2 ½ days, the rest of those guys… you know, I did 27 days in there. And it’s like being on an elliptical, like high-resistance on an elliptical machine for 14 hours a day wearing a suit of armor that is sweaty, and kind of pinches you, and weighs 30-40 pounds. And then with the water, once Guillermo decided that he was going to drop 250 gallons of water a minute on our heads during our takes. It was just a real ordeal, to the point where I four or five days in was starting to have a panic attack about the thing like, “How the fuck am I going to get through 27 days of this?” Then I look over to Rinko, and all the guys who all think we’re such tough guys were just complaining like little girls, and then Rinko was just like a warrior in there, just calm, and focused, and transported herself to a happier, better place. So I tried to just channel as much of Rinko as possible in the last couple weeks.
I’ve been asking this of everybody lately. What is it that you collect or nerd out for?
HUNNAM: I collect…for a long time I collected Nike Air Max 90s, this specific shoe. And it really is nerdy, because collecting sneakers is not that nerdy, but if you don’t wear them, and you keep the box fresh, if you’re that fanatical about it then you leap several categories into super-dork, and that’s the way I was. I had like 70-something different color combinations, never worn, boxed fresh. But I started to feel guilty about it. I felt like it was a little bit… you know.
Do you still have all the shoes?
HUNNAM: I wore a few, I gave some away to charity, and I pared it down to the 40 that I absolutely couldn’t let go.
So you could never make fun of any woman for getting into shoes.
HUNNAM: No, no, no; unfortunately not.
We are both pimping out for the Nike Air Max.
HUNNAM: Yes, sir.
It’s very funny.
HUNNAM: Now I collect gold.
HUNNAM: Yeah, [laughs] like a true miser. I literally – Trinidad James said “All Gold Everything”, I cannot get enough gold. And you know it’s insurrection against the fucking bankster occupation. I’m taking back my power.
HUNNAM: I’m fucking off this fiat currency and going back to something that has some tangible worth.
The only problem with that is if shit really went wrong, are people really going to care about gold or are they going to care about food and basic commodities?
HUNNAM: No, people are going to care about food and basic commodities and I think about this stuff all the time. I think that’s what’s so beautiful about the message of this movie, Pacific Rim. I think these huge movies give filmmakers and opportunity to explore, not in a heavy handed way, some of the big themes. And I think this is a beautiful allegory for the giant problems that we’re facing as humanity. You know, food shortage, population expanding exponentially, global warming, nuclear war, all these problems that were facing are going to become very, very, very big problems. We’ve got to cut all the bullshit, and forget our petty differences, and come together ,and try to fucking figure out a solution or were done. And not only, unfortunately, are we done, because I’ve got no problem with the human race making themselves extinct, you know were going to reap what we sow, but unfortunately what our nature is, is to take everything else out with us.
It’s all about money. When people figure out how to profit from fixing problems is the day we deal with it. Until then it’s not going to get solved.
HUNNAM: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s really hard as an actor because you feel like you care about these issues, and you talk about these issues, but then just because of the nature of the business I flew to San Francisco for three days, now I’m flying back, then I’m flying to England, then I’m flying to New York and my carbon footprint is out-of-fucking-control. But that’s just the reality of my life, so I try to combat that in other ways. I try desperately to never drink bottled water. I actually just bought a ranch and I’m going grow as much of my own foods – I’ve got thirty chickens and I’m going to try to live as sustainably as possible.
Some people I know for carbon footprint issues when they do certain things they will invest in planting trees or doing other things to sort of offset it.
HUNNAM: Yeah, absolutely I’ve always done that. You know it’s funny, I used to [laughs] grow my own marijuana, but I felt very guilty about the amount of power it would use, because I would grow indoors. So for every crop I would plant five trees to try to…you know, and it seemed like the circle of life.
There’s no easy answer. Before I run out of time with you I’m a huge fan of Sons of Anarchy, huge.
HUNNAM: Thank you, thank you, I love the show. I’m very, very proud to be a part of that show.
I’m always circling, when is it coming back? When is it coming back? I don’t want to know spoilers at all, I care about watching it week in and week out, but what can you tease people? Where are you in the filming process?
HUNNAM: We are on episode five or season six and Kurt is thinking that he’s going to wrap it up after seven seasons. We’re going to do seven seasons. So were now well into the third act and the third act of anything is the resolution. We’ve got to start resolving some of these big problems. So I got to figure out what I’m going to do with Clay, I got to figure out what I’m going to do with the club, I got to figure out what my life as Jax Teller is going to look like, because Kurt doesn’t want, I think, just to let this thing keep on in the audiences mind in perpetuation. He wants to bring this story to its natural conclusion, whatever that may be. So I think it’s going to be a bloody and exciting couple of seasons.
Has he told you where it’s going in the seventh season or is he still figuring out the final resolution?
HUNNAM: I think he’s still figuring out some of the nuances of it. I think he has a plan which he hasn’t really told me. I mean he’s kind of hinted thematically what he wants to achieve, but in actual manifestation I don’t know what exactly that’s going to look like.
I believe Guillermo’s doing a haunted house movie. You may or may not be involved.
HUNNAM: I am involved, Crimson Peak.
Exactly, when is it filming? What do you know about it?
HUNNAM: We’re going to start filming in early spring of next year and it’s kind of a Jane Austen type of haunted house ghost story. It’s wonderful kind of collaborating with a director. I was so proud, and pleased, and honored when Guillermo asked me to come and star in another movie right after we finished this one. I’ve always kind of dreamed of having a long standing collaboration with a filmmaker like that, and god there’s no one – I mean, I hit the lottery with Guillermo. But it’s funny he kind of saw something in me that I felt like I would be able to do that I don’t think many people would really consider me for, which was really also kind of sweet and made me feel really proud. He’s a totally different character than I’ve ever played. He’s a very kind of quiet, shy, thoughtful kind of stoic, taciturn, very learned guy who is madly in love with the female hero, but she just can’t even see him because Benedict Cumberbatch, this larger than life swashbuckling ladies’ man, shits all over my love and makes it unrequited.