Pictured above: Deadfall – Ex-boxer Jay (Charlie Hunnam) ©2012 Productions Kin Inc, courtesy of Magnolia Pictures, photo by Jan Thijs
In the new thriller Deadfall, Charlie Hunnam portrays Jay Mills, an ex-boxer who has just been released from prison. On his way to his parents’ home for Thanksgiving, he encounters Liza (Olivia Wilde), on a freezing highway. Unbeknownst to Jay, she and her brother, Addison (Eric Bana), are fleeing from the law following a casino heist gone wrong. Liza contacts Addison, giving him Jay’s parents’ address, leading to an unexpected and frightening showdown.
Charlie first captured the attention of audiences as the title role in Nicholas Nickleby. But it’s his character, Jackson ‘Jax’ Teller on FX’s highest rated series, Sons of Anarchy, that has gained him the most recognition.
What kind of research did you do for Jay in Deadfall?
I’ve always been very interested in boxing, so I put myself through an intense boxing academy, where I got up and ran five miles every morning, and then had breakfast and boxed a couple of hours.
I came home and watched fights all day long, then I swam every night, seven days a week for several weeks running up to this.
When I got to Montreal, as soon as we started filming, I stopped completely to feel the absence of that. I knew that it was going to have a very negative effect on my psychology.
I got into a very dark and happy place while shooting this movie because of that preparation.
In Deadfall?, where it’s constantly freezing, you still showed quite a bit of skin. Was that extra challenging for you?
It was. I had actually been really excited about a period in the cold weather. We shoot Sons of Anarchy in LA through the course of the summer.
I’m a skinny guy and I want to look as big as possible, so I wear several layers of clothing every day, and it gets really old being that hot.
I must say a couple of days on this film I was craving the sunshine. When you’re really hot you get miserable and a little bit grumpy, but the cold is really debilitating. I found it hard to function.
Has being on Sons of Anarchy prepped you for doing roles like this?
No, [it was] my childhood more than anything. But Sons has been an incredible experience for me. Just doing that volume of work. I’m going to work every day, putting 80 hour weeks in, six months in a row. It has developed a real ease for me in front of the camera.
I felt for the first couple of seasons of Sons that all I was doing was trying to speak in a Californian accent, and everything else was falling by the wayside.
Thankfully, I’ve gotten to the point where I feel comfortable enough that I can concentrate on some of the other stuff.
You have a 90-minute season finale of Sons of Anarchy coming up in a week or so, can you talk about it?
I’m very excited. To people who have watched the show, it’s clear that it has been a very fulfilling season for Jax in his overall arc through the story.
It’s wonderful getting to be the President finally.
It’s a little less reactive and a little more proactive. It’s been fun.
With Christmas less than a month away, Charlie Hunnam was asked about his most memorable Christmas – click here to listen to his reply.
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