The reputation of Charlie Hunnam has made a name for cutting his body for acting roles. In his outburst "Sons of Anarchy" he played the often shirtless Jax Teller to the delight of all ABS connoisseurs. He rallied for King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword then he was slimmed down for [Papillion]. As he explains, everything is in the service of work.
In his last outing, Netflix's Triple Frontier (March 13), he plays a former Special Forces agent who brings some old friends to a recent job. (It's not a spoiler to say things are not going as planned.) Hunnam took time out for Men's Health to talk about how he stood up for the role, his eye of the tiger's life philosophy his bare image of him without nudity accumulated Go away.
A few years ago, around the release of King Arthur, you joked that you are tired of seeing pictures of yourself online without a shirt. You even suggested that you consider hanging up your six-pack and withdrawing your abdominal muscles. So we have to ask the tough questions ̵
[Laughs] Pretty good. I'm in good shape I started doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu about two and a half or three years ago, which requires a lot of nuclear power. Despite previous explanations, I'm probably in better shape than ever before.
It does not seem as though the pictures without a shirt have disappeared from the internet.
Yes, I do not think new ones have been added to the library. But I think that those who are there will be in circulation forever – just as the Internet is.
In Triple Frontier you play a former Special Forces soldier and have worked a lot with a SEAL coach. What did you learn from this experience?
I really love the sense of sincerity with these guys – there is no feeling that life is trivial. There is no negligence, no triviality for these guys. They were only very, very serious. I really enjoy that. I'm a big fan of Jordan Peterson, just like many people right now – he's become a pretty Internet phenomenon, a map-leading member of the intellectual dark web .
I love the message he promotes: "Take your life seriously". Take as much responsibility as possible. I think in his words he says, take the heaviest thing you can and wear it.
That was the philosophy and mentality of these Special Forces guys. I have really enjoyed dealing with this sensitivity. At the present time, every garment is soft and justified. It's like, no, guys, you have no claim to anything.
It's like: At your fruits you should know them . "And that only speaks to the importance of going out there and working for yourself. Living in Hollywood and meeting the people in the film industry often made the attitude of these Special Forces guys really refreshing.
How did you try to convey this to the character displayed on the screen?
I try to bring it into my life every day. I try to take my life seriously without taking myself seriously.
I also worked with military personnel in various fields. The show I had performed for many years Sons of Anarchy, was a real favorite among the military, so I participated in a series of military and veteran charity events.
So I met some of these guys. I feel a real obligation to be sensitive and to find as much truth as I can to portray the struggle of military people who are integrated into normal life.
When do you think about what you have to physically do to represent a character? Do you work from the inside out?
Unintentionally, there seems to be a pattern in which I have to vary a lot. In this project, Triple Frontier I did not have long enough to wrap Papillion where I had to lose a tremendous amount of weight. I made it – for the second time in about five years, which is really uncomfortable – but dropped from 185 to 145 pounds.
When I joined Triple Frontier I was just thinking that a guy with a nickname like "Ironhead," the character descriptions, and the way he talks about himself, feels like a pretty good guy scary person felt. When you play a physical guy, the physicality is not superficial. It is intrinsic, not extrinsic – it has a connection to the person who is the character.
You once mentioned when you worked on Sons of Anarchy . They felt they looked too much like a "fitness man" instead of a Special Forces guy whose physicality is just about functionality
The reality for me is that they never will be perfect. I have the eye of the tiger, and I have the sensibility of being great. But I have no God-given, raw, physical form. So I have to gain weight and be fit and be as strong as I can. That's why I break heavy weights.
This gives you a certain look that is not ideal, but as long as you have the eye of the tiger, I think that this is the most important thing. Anyone who exercises regularly can confirm that the physical strength you receive when exercising with heavy weights daily gives you emotional and mental strength. There is a deep connection between psychology and physicality.
It's certainly not ideal to look like you just spend a lot of time in the gym, but to get big and strong, I just have no choice.
Is this psychological part – the eye of the tiger – something you need to top up as you work your way into the role?
I do. I want to have the tiger's eye just for my own sake. For me, this is a pretty unique way of working. I live a pretty monastic lifestyle. When I work, I never drink and eat very, very well. I think it is a deep responsibility to sleep eight hours a night, because you need that mental clarity and concentration to do a good job in the fifteenth hour of the day.
As I begin to prepare and get closer to the beginning of the film, I cut more and more distractions in my life and get into this serious way of thinking. Well, now is the time to devote myself fully to this project, taking it very seriously and doing the best possible work I can do in my area of expertise.
And to bring that ability range to its threshold each time; hopefully grow and learn and get better results. They always want to go forward.
You mentioned Jordan Peterson as someone whose philosophy really appeals to you. Who else are you reading if you are looking for that Tiger mentality and preparing for such a role?
In my thirties, I became a rather insatiable reader. I read a lot of fiction for love, and I read a lot of nonfiction. Especially for this experience I have read a lot from Sebastian Junger; I've read Tribe a few times, which I think is an extraordinary book. I read the war by Sebastian Junger (19459003). I've read Jocko Willink's Extreme Ownership: How to Lead and Win US Navy SEALs. I Read About Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by David Grossman.
So I read a lot of military-oriented stuff. it is always specific to the role. Just for my own edification and pleasure, I read many books on the human condition, especially the human condition in relation to spiritual practice.
Most of the time it helps me in life. Life is very complicated. I sign the hell and heaven on earth. I think that an axiom of life is that life is suffering. All great religions have taught us that. I think there is a personal responsibility – almost like a campaign – to try every day to balance the scales, to make as much sense as we can from a sense of individualistic purpose.
This is my philosophy and general attitude shortly.
And finally, any words of wisdom or encouragement for people who are not lucky enough to get themselves into shape as a job request?
If you want to use your life physically, emotionally and mentally, working out is an essential element – for everyone. We have this long history of hominoids, where we have been hunters and gatherers for millions of years, and it took only 80-100 years for this truly sedentary lifestyle to develop. It is a mess in our systems.
The connection between mental and physical health is indeed a major link. If someone feels anxious, depressed or mentally ill and does not follow a consistent health regime, I would argue that he is the first place he tries to alleviate his suffering. I know that a basic requirement for being mentally happy and healthy is to stay physically healthy.