Charlie Hunnam explains why he quit Pacific Rim 2
Production recently wrapped on â€˜Pacific Rim: Uprising,â€™ the sequel to 2013â€™s giant robots-vs-giant monsters epic. However, while the film will bring back a number of key figures from the original, there are two notable absentees: director Guillermo del Toro, and Charlie Hunnam, who took the lead in the original as Jaeger pilot Raleigh Becket.
The â€˜Pacific Rimâ€™ sequel had a troubled development period, in which for some time it was uncertain the film would get made at all; the original had only been a modest box office success in most territories, but it was a smash hit in China, which proved enough get â€˜Uprisingâ€™ a greenlight.
By this time, Del Toro dropped out in favour of directing his upcoming independent picture â€˜The Shape of Water,â€™ passing on the directorial reins to Steven S DeKnight; but, until now, it hasnâ€™t been entirely clear why Hunnam also passed.
The actor explains to Den of Geek, it came down to a â€œhuge scheduling conflictâ€ between the Legendary Entertainment production and another project, a remake of the 1973 Steve McQueen movie â€˜Pappilon,â€™ which Hunnam was â€œreally, really investedâ€ in making.
â€œWhat happened was Legendary was sold to Wanda, which is the big Chinese corporation, and â€˜Pacific Rim,â€™ although it underperformed in other territories in the world, was an enormous success in China. All of a sudden, it became their primary focus to make this and they wanted to do it very, very rapidlyâ€¦ I think their schedule subsequently changed, and I might have been able to do both, but at that time, they were writing the script and they needed to know, was I in or was I out?â€
Unsurprisingly, Hunnam was contractually obliged to appear in a â€˜Pacific Rimâ€™ sequel, and itâ€™s well known that plenty of actors have wound up being essentially forced to make movies they donâ€™t want to make under these circumstances. Happily for Hunnam, his producer was more compassionate than some.
â€œI have great relationships with everyone at Legendary, and they were incredibly generous to me and let me out of my contractâ€¦ when I spoke to Thomas Tull [producer and former Legendary chairman], who is a dear friend of mine, I said, â€˜Listen, man. Itâ€™s not that my heart is not in this. Iâ€™m invested in this creatively, but my heartâ€™s going to be broken because I already was going to do this other film.â€™
â€œHe was like, â€˜Dude, you were going to do that other film and thatâ€™s where your heart is. I donâ€™t want you being on set if youâ€™re not going to be happy, so go do the other film,â€™ which was ludicrously generous of him. But thatâ€™s just the type of man he is.â€
This is not the first time Hunnam has backed out of a major role, as he was the first actor cast as Christian Grey in â€˜Fifty Shades of Greyâ€™ before having a change of heart, clearing the way for Jamie Dornan to take over.
In Hunnamâ€™s absence, â€˜Star Warsâ€™ actor John Boyega will headline â€˜Pacific Rim: Uprisingâ€™ as the son of Stacker Pentcost, Idris Elbaâ€™s character from the 2013 original. Other newcomers in the sequel include Scott Eastwood (â€˜Fast & Furious 8â€™), Tiang Jin (â€˜Kong: Skull Islandâ€™) and Adria Arjona (TVâ€™s â€˜Emerald Cityâ€™).
However, several of Hunnamâ€™s â€˜Pacific Rimâ€™ co-stars will be back, including Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day and Burn Gorman.
â€˜Pacific Rim: Uprisingâ€™ is due 23 February 2018, whilst Hunnam will next be seen in â€˜King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,â€™ opening 19 May. (â€˜Papillonâ€™ is expected at some point later this year.)