As Charlie Hunnam prepares for his new role as Christian Grey in the big-screen adaptation of "50 Shades of Grey," fans of the novel may be happy to know the actor does a massive amount of research before he takes on a film.
But the interesting question remains, how much Hunnam will delve into the lurid world of author E.L. James' blockbuster novels?
Hunnam, the star of the hit FX series "Sons of Anarchy," shared his thoughts with me about why he extensively researches roles in an interview for his most recent movie, the sci-fi adventure "Pacific Rim."
“I always think back to Daniel Day-Lewis, who said why he does the massive amount of preparation and research that he does,” Hunnam told me. “He said, ‘I’m not a good enough actor not to do the research,’ and that’s how I feel. If I didn’t show up and do a tremendous amount of work, then I would mess everything up."
One thing Hunnam said he tries to avoid is operating out of fear when taking on role, especially when he plays the lead.
The British actor told me that "fear can be very, very destructive for an actor, because you do ultimately need to go into the part having the confidence that you’ve got what it takes to play it. Otherwise, you’re just going to constantly be second-guessing yourself."
Of course, Hunnam, 33, will feel the heat of expectations from "50 Shades of Grey" fans, both on his character and the translation of the story from the page to the big screen.
Talking about how he handles expectations for roles in general, Hunnam said the best thing he can do is not be afraid of all the things that could potentially go wrong on a gig, and instead keep a positive focus on all the things that can go right -- starting with his own performance.
“As an actor, one always puts oneself out there, and there’s always a fear that you are not going to do as good a job as you would hope to do because there’s a million variables that can come into play and prevent you from doing that,” Hunnam told me. “I try to approach my career from a positive standpoint and just have as much confidence in my own abilities as possible. You can overcome fear with a lot of hard work and do a lot of research.”
Focus Features announced Hunnam's casting Monday, not long after it was announced that Dakota Johnson, the daughter of actors Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, would make play Anastasia Steele in the provocative drama.
Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, "50 Shades of Grey" is slated for an Aug. 1, 2014, release.
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