Charlie Hunnam Had “Nervous Breakdown” Under Fifty Shades of Grey Pressure
In a new Moviefone interview, the actor reveals that the stress over his schedule and the enormous pressure of the high-profile book adaptation forced him to quit.
“I wouldn’t have signed up in the first place if I didn’t want to do it,” says Hunnam. “It was a really, really difficult time in my life.”
After meeting with director Sam Taylor-Johnson, he “fell in love” with Fifty Shades, even though he knew scheduling was going to be an issue.
He explains, “I started talking about this thing and I just got so excited. I fell in love with the character and started seeing him and becoming intoxicated, which is the way I work: I find a character I love and I start thinking about it all the time.”
But as Hunnam tried to balance Fifty Shades with commitments to “Sons of Anarchy” and the movie Crimson Peak, everything caught up with him.
“I was going to finish ‘Sons’ at like 11 p.m. Friday night, get on the plane Saturday morning to Vancouver for Fifty, missing the whole first week of rehearsal and start shooting Monday morning,” recalls the star. “And I was going to shoot that film, wrap that on the Wednesday and the following Monday I was going to start shooting Crimson Peak in Toronto. I just had like… frankly, something of a nervous breakdown.”
It was also during this time that Hunnam started noticing just how many eyes were on him in the Christian Grey role.
“I just said, ‘I can’t… I can’t.’ To fail on such a grand scale — because Fifty’s going to be massive, it’s going to be huge. I really didn’t want to fail on such a grand scale and I just couldn’t transition from [“Sons of Anarchy” character] Jax Teller to Christian Grey in 48 hours,” says Hunnam.
He admits, “I bit off more than I could chew and it was painful. I loved the character and I wanted to do it.”
Jamie Dornan replaced Hunnam in the role, and can be seen as Christian Grey in the movie’s first trailer.