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Charlie Hunnam Explains Turning Down 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' and '50 Shades'

Charlie Hunnam Explains Turning Down 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' and '50 Shades'
November 4, 2020 - 11:59 / Anna Valenzuela Rosas

Gorgeous Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam is opening up about a difficult time in his life when he had to disappoint his great friends. He had to make personal decisions to turn down major roles in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and 50 Shades of Grey.

Pacific Rim star Charlie Hunnam is now explaining why he turned down a few highly successful film roles and how much it affected him to do so. He sadly had to break the bad news to his close friends.

Charlie Hunnam Turned Down Forgetting Sarah Marshall

The Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam opened up in an interview with Collider about the dark time in his life when he was spread too thin. He explained, "Jason Segel wrote Forgetting Sarah Marshall for he and I to do together, and he wrote that role [Aldous Snow] for me."

"I went in and I did the table read and it was very successful. Judd [Apatow] was producing. I was in a dark night of the soul in my career, at that point, and felt as though I needed to seize the trajectory and that just wasn't really aligning with, at the period of my life and career, what I wanted to be doing." Charlie said How I Met Your Mother's Jason Segel was "one of my best friends, which is why he wrote the film for me, but I had to tell him, 'I'm so sorry, I'm not gonna do this."

Kristen Bell, Jason Segel, Jonah Hill, and Russell Brand in 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall'.

This news was not "well-received" and Charlie "had to stand my ground and say 'Listen, it's nothing personal. I'm just following my North Star. I'm just in a weird spot and I'm trying to define for myself what the path forward is." Although it was a difficult decision to make, Charlie is happy he made the choice and paved the way for Russell Brand to take the role.

"It was one of those things where it was really difficult for me for the few months after that r a year after that, and then I saw this piece of stand-up. I didn't know who Russell Brand was, but I saw this piece of stand-up that Russell Brand did on Christmas Day with my mom. It was just this liberating moment where I said, 'Obviously, that's the dude who should have been playing that role. Clearly, I just needed to step out of the way of the universe manifesting itself, the way that it was supposed to.'"

Russell Brand in 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall'.

After watching Forgetting Sarah Marshall Hunnam felt "there's no way I could have done it justice the way Russell Brand did."

Charlie Hunnam Turned Down 50 Shades of Grey

Forgetting Sarah Marshall wasn't the only big role he shot down, he also was set to play the lead of "Christian Grey" in 50 Shades of Grey. He had been overworking and had already promised his friend Guillermo Del Toro he would star in his film. "I'd given Guillermo my word, over a year before, that I was going to do this film. People were saying 'Are you crazy? Guillermo still has got four months to recast, it's the fourth lead, you can go and do this [instead].' I said, 'I can't. He's my friend.'"

Charlie Hunnam and Guillermo Del Toro on the set of 'Pacific Rim'.

Charlie could not fit 50 Shades into his schedule, "I was going to finish Sons … fly to Vancouver the next day, have ten days of rehearsal, and then start shooting. Then I was going to have three days after that and I’d have to start shooting Crimson Peak and then I’d have two days to travel and go back into season 7 of Sons

Looking back on having to turn down the role, Charlie says, "It was the worst professional experience of my life. It was the most emotionally destructive and difficult thing that I've ever had to deal with professionally. It was heartbreaking." He personally broke the news to the 50 Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson, "I called her and we both cried our eyes out on the phone for 20 minutes. I needed to tell her that this was not going to work."

While it was emotionally draining to Charlie to make this decision, he was proud to maintain his moral standards. He said, "I really, really pride myself on being a professional and a man of keeping my word. It means a lot to me truly."

Charlie Hunnam in 'Pacific Rim'.