Amidst controversy surrounding his casting as Christian Grey in "Fifty Shades of Grey", Charlie Hunnam talks for the first time about the erotically-charged role he just landed. The 33-year-old actor says he is fully prepared, and assures that there's a "tangible chemistry" between him and his co-star Dakota Johnson.
"You know what, I had such a baptism of fire with regards to sexuality on camera at the beginning of my career," he told reporters at the premiere of "Sons of Anarchy" Saturday, September 7. "If you look back in my history, my first job was on a channel 4 miniseries called 'Queer as Folk' and it was incredibly explicit sexual scenes with a man."
Unfazed by the potentially-large amount of explicit scenes on the movie, he added, "So if I could do it when I was 18 with a guy I could certainly do it at 33 with a lady." He went on, "Now I am 16 years older and more mature so I don't anticipate them being too much of a problem. It's like anything else, just an exciting challenge."
Nonetheless, Hunnam admitted it was "a big commitment." He remembered pressing the director for a more in-depth session to explore the character, "We kind of both suggested I do a reading with Dakota, who was her favorite, and as soon as we got in the room and I started reading with Dakota I knew that I definitely wanted to do it."
"There's just like a tangible chemistry between us. It felt exciting and fun and weird and compelling," he explained.
The 33-year-old star also recalled how he was approached by the director for the erotically-charged role. "I met with Sam Taylor-Johnson a couple of times. She'd asked to meet me and we talked at length about the role, the movie and what her intention was," he remembered.
"I felt really intrigued and excited about it so I went and read the first book to get a clearer idea of who this character was, and I felt even more excited at the prospect of bringing him to life," he continued.
Hunnam said he got approval from his girlfriend, jewelry designer Morgana McNelis. "It was a decision we made together but you know, she loved the books, she read them and loved them and she was really excited at the potential of this opportunity for me and if anything I think it will bring us closer," he spilled.
"It's very hard to be with an actor. She's required to share parts of me that she wouldn't really want to share so of course with the nature of this role that's going to be times ten," he went, "but we have a great relationship, and she loves me and wants to be with me and we've been together a long time now."
"I think she understands and has come to terms with the fact that there are certain elements of me that she is going to have to share. This is an extreme example of that, but thankfully we do have seven and a half years of history together, so it won't be a big problem."
"Fifty Shades of Grey" is adapted from E.L. James' erotic romance story of the same name that initially started out as a fan fiction of the "Twilight" series. It will follow a curious college graduate, Anastasia Steele (Johnson), as she explores the BDSM world with the help of a young business magnate, Christian Grey.