FOR a man who doesn’t like violence, playing a brutal and dangerous bikie in the sadistic series Sons Of Anarchy seems like a strange career move.
But for actor Charlie Hunnam it was a role he couldn’t turn down.
The Englishman ( pictured) had been looking to do a film when the lead role came up in the vicious and intense series about a man who struggles to find a balance between his role in a motorcycle gang and being a new dad.
‘‘ It was just about the quality of the writing for me,’’ Hunnam explains.
‘‘ I read the script and got really, really excited about what creator Kurt Sutter was trying to do with this world. It was an interesting subculture we’d never really seen before and it’s quite exciting to explore.’’
However, delving into the often ferocious and sometimes deadly arena was tough for the 31-yearold actor, who is deeply opposed to violence.
To help get a handle on the role, Hunnam went inside civilian and outlaw biker clubs, hanging out with the members and talking to them about their lives.
‘‘ I wouldn’t say they were hugely accepting to begin with, Hunnam says.
‘‘ They were tolerant, but then I developed a genuine friendship with a few of the guys which then afforded me a lot more freedom in that world and a lot more acceptance.’’
It was a fascinating and sometimes frightening experience for the actor and one he says he will never forget.
‘‘ The thing I love most about acting is you get access to these worlds you’d never ordinarily be allowed into,’’ he says.
‘‘ People who normally have their doors locked very tight open them for Hollywood.’’
Hunnam has stayed friends with four of the bikers he met through his research.
‘‘ One of these guys has become one of my best friends. We just made a genuine human connection, he says.
‘‘ We explore this a little bit in the show, that even in the outlaw clubs there’s different personality and character types, it’s not all just the stereotypical super tough, macho bikers.
‘‘ There are a lot of guys who are a little more thoughtful who are involved in that world because of the more righteous elements of it, like the freedom that life on the road gives you and the idea that you’re not going to adhere to the laws of everyday lifestyle and society and instead live on your own terms.’’