After seven years of murder and mayhem, it’s the end of the road for the SAMCRO biker gang in Sons of Anarchy, which revs up its final season this week on FX (Tuesdays, 10/9c).
No doubt things will end violently for at least some members of this highly dysfunctional family, its leader included. (SPOILER ALERT: As the season begins, antihero Jax Teller is grieving over his wife Tara, unaware his own mother Gemma did the deed—with a carving fork, no less!)
The man who plays him, Charlie Hunnam, talked with us about endings, accents, 50 Shades of Grey and what’s next.
“I’ve got to take my kutte—the jacket—but I also want my rings, and I would love my bike, but that might be asking a bit too much.”
What’s Jax’s mindset going into this season?
He’s a very sad and broken man, with a lot of vengeance in his heart, and I think through the course of the season, we’re going ask the big question that he’s been dancing around for the whole story so far: Can he continue living this life, and what does that mean for his sons, and is he just going to be perpetuating the cycle he’s been trying to get out of himself? There’s going to be a grand exploration of that narrative. His ability to trust anybody outside of his immediate circle has been shattered. He’s just stripped it down to his group of like five guys in the club that he’s been there with for a long time that he loves, and his mom, and everyone else better look out, you know? I think he knows what he wants to do and he knows where all of his energy is going to go, but he can’t get away from the fact that the love of his life has just been taken from him.
How do you feel about it ending?
You know, it’s really bittersweet. I’m very excited to have a little more control over my life and it not be dictated totally by the rhythm of the show, and it feels like the right time. We’ve told the story, and we’re going out on a high, but I love it. I love the guys. I don’t know how it’s going to end, but I’ve really been loving the way Kurt [Sutter] has been writing the last season so far.
Will it be hard to leave Jax behind?
It really will.
What will you miss most?
Hanging with the guys, the people and the character. I really love this character. I’ve come to love him.
Is he your favorite character you’ve played?
It’s probably a tossup between him and this character I played called Pete Dunham in Green Street Hooligans, a film about soccer hooligans that I did a few years ago.
You know, just in case you forget the premiere date.
What souvenir do you want to take from the set?
I’ve got to take my kutte—the jacket—but I also want my rings, and I would love my bike, but that might be asking a bit too much.
Do you ride a bike away from the show?
Yes, a Harley, a Dyna. I got it at cost, as a cross-promotional thing from the show.
Many people aren’t aware you’re from Newcastle, England. Would you like to use your regular accent in your next role?
I don’t have a specific desire one way or another, but the way it’s working out in terms of the things I’m looking at right now, I might go with an English role next. I’ve been playing an American for the last 12 years. I’ll have to get a dialogue coach. It’s been so long since I’ve played an Englishman.
You’ve done a movie called Crimson Peak. What’s that about and what do you play?
I just finished shooting that. Guillermo del Toro directed it. It’s a haunted house period love story. I play a very shy, sweet, kind of gentle doctor. I think it’ll be out year from now, October 2015. Guillermo and I are talking about doing another Pacific Rim movie together, which would be cool.
What’s the real reason you left 50 Shades of Grey? Was it really a scheduling conflict or something else?
I wouldn’t have signed up if I didn’t want to do it. I was having a really difficult time in my life, and I had already been attached to Crimson Peak, and Guillermo had scheduled that around my schedule to make me available for my show. I was going to take three months off and then go do Crimson, and then 50 Shades came up, and I thought, “I’m not going to be able to do both of these things.” But I met the director and I got so excited about it. I fell in love with the character. Then we went a little bit late on Sons. I was going to finish Sons on a Friday night, get on a plane Saturday morning to Vancouver, missing the whole first week of rehearsal, and start shooting that Monday morning. I just couldn’t transition from Jax Teller to Christian Grey in 48 hours. And then I’d have no time between that and Crimson Peak. I just said ‘I can’t.’ 50 is going to be huge, and I didn’t want to fail on such a grand scale, and I just bit off more than I could chew. I wanted to do it and I’m also a man of my word. So it was a shit situation. No matter what I was going to say, people were going to twist it.
Do you have a five-year plan, a to-do list?
I want to continue working hard and make some movies that I feel really proud of, and sort my life out a little bit. It’s hard to have a fully rounded life that makes sense and works when you work a hundred hours a week, 50 weeks a year. I’ve been in the rhythm of doing the TV show and then movies in the hiatus, so I’ll have a bit more time now to focus on myself.