MOTW: Get to Know Actor Charlie Hunnam

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.
July 11th, 2013

MOTW: Get to Know Actor Charlie Hunnam

Best known for his role on the American television series "Sons of Anarchy," British actor Charlie Hunnam had a long history as an actor before finding his way to the United States.

Born to working class parents in Newcastle upon Tyne in England, Hunnam grew up with two older brothers. He confesses that his parents' marriage wasn't easy and that his brothers often talked about the fights they had. His mother was something of a free spirit, while his father had a rough-and-tumble attitude. He was only a toddler when his parents divorced, but when he was twelve, his mother married for a second time.

Hunnam found that life was harder when his family relocated to the Lake District. The other children looked down on him and thought he was just another poor kid. He claims that he learned to fight at a young age to keep the other children away. The actor credits those childhood problems with making him a stronger actor, and he admits that he probably wouldn't feel so driven if it weren't for the way others once treated him.

Despite the bullying he faced, he landed his first television role as a child, appearing in three episodes of "Byker Grover." A production manager for the show found him when he was playing around in a store, and Hunnam impressed the casting director with his comedic talents. During the 1990s, he took on small roles on the shows "Microsoap" and "My Wonderful Life." His next big role came in 1999 when he landed a major role on "Queer as Folk," which ran for two seasons in the UK.

While working as an actor, Hunnam realized that he needed to hone his craft. After gaining acceptance to the Cumbria College of Art and Design, he studied performing arts and continued accepting acting work. By the time he graduated from the program, he had multiple roles on television and in films under his belt, including a starring role in "Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?"

Prior to the release of that film, Hunnam decided that he wanted to work in America. Not long after moving to Los Angeles, he won a leading role on the television series "Young Americans." Though the show was a spin-off of the popular WB series "Dawson's Creek," it didn't catch on with fans, and the network canceled the show before airing all episodes of the first season. Hunnam then landed a role on "Undeclared," which Fox canceled too. Hunnam also auditioned for a role in "Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones," but he lost out on the part.

Many actors might take a break after starring in two canceled shows and losing out on a blockbuster role, but Hunnam bounced back with film work. He appeared alongside Jude Law and Nicole Kidman in "Cold Mountain," Katie Holmes and Benjamin Bratt in "Abandon," and Anne Hathaway and Jim Broadbent in "Nicholas Nickleby." Citing the need to star in quality productions, he next starred in the British film "Green Street Hooligans."

Though the film opened to mixed reviews, his performance caught the eye of Kurt Sutter. Sutter was in the midst of casting "Sons of Anarchy," and he wanted actors who were familiar with darker roles. Before filming on the series started, Hunnam also appeared in "Children of Men" and took time to focus on his writing career. Summit Entertainment purchased a screenplay he wrote in 2009 that told the story of a young Dracula, and Plan B Studios plans to produce the film.

While making the audition rounds in Hollywood, Hunnam met an actress named Katharine Towne ("M.Y.O.B."). The two eloped in Las Vegas after dating for just a few weeks, but they later divorced. In 2007, he met jewelry designer Morgana McNelis, and the two have dated ever since. Hunnam also made the list of the 100 Sexiest Men in the World in "Elle Girl" in 2005.

In the course of his career, Hunnam has picked up several awards and nominations. The National Board of Review awarded the cast of "Nicholas Nickleby" an Award for Best Acting by an Ensemble, and Hunnam received a nomination for Best Actor in a Drama Series from the Ewwy Awards. Hunnam also received a nomination from the Critics' Choice Television Awards for his work on "Sons of Anarchy."

Hunnam will next star in the summer blockbuster "Pacific Rim" alongside fellow British actor Idris Elba. The actor told reporters that he liked having the chance to work on a sci-fi film. With a hit summer film and a popular television series, it seems like Hunnam has a bright future in Hollywood.