What’s Next for Sons of Anarchy Star Charlie Hunnam?

After taking his final ride on Sons of Anarchy, Charlie Hunnam is ready for new adventures

Hunnam at the season 7 premiere (Photo: Everett Collection/REX USA)

Hunnam at the season 7 premiere (Photo: Everett Collection/REX USA)

Over the course of seven bloody seasons on Sons of Anarchy, Charlie Hunnam committed countless horrific acts as Jax Teller, yet we always rooted for his twinkle-eyed, torture-happy biker gang leader, annoyingly powerless against the actor’s combination of craft and charisma. (We’re sure showrunner Kurt Sutter’s frequent showcasing of Hunnam’s majestic bubble butt mid-coitus has nothing to do with it.) Hunnam’s own theory: people are drawn to Teller’s pure heart. “I grew up around guys who weren’t afraid to break the law to provide a little extra for their families, and the vast majority of those guys weren’t bad guys at all, just willing to take the risk or to compartmentalize feelings of guilt,” he says. “I never really judged Jax, because he was born into this thing.”

Hunnam himself was born into the lush, isolated fells of rural northern England. “There was a loneliness to growing up like that,” he says. “I had to fill up my days and create a life for myself, which forced me to use my imagination and cultivate a dream of what I wanted my life to be. I don’t think I would have pursued my career in film with quite as much vigour had I not had those years for it to become concrete in my mind that this is the only thing I want to do.”

Charlie Hunam Sons of Anarchy

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Young Hunnam made good on this promise—only two years after his TV debut, he landed the breakout role of feisty 15-year-old twink Nathan on the original Queer as Folk, then spent the next 10 years transforming himself from a goofy, skinny kid with a broad northern accent into an actor with enough power and authority (and the jacked physique) to credibly head a crew of killers on Sons—and, now, the smoulder required to anchor a Calvin Klein fragrance campaign for Reveal, co-starring top model Doutzen Kroes. (Reveal Women launched last fall, while Reveal Men hit stores in January.) Being a face offered a new performance challenge: the sultry TV spots feature the pair as high-rise dwellers seducing one another through their windows. Hunnam felt wooden at first and found himself legitimately peeping at Kroes to crib her moves, until he finally got into his character’s groove: “I thought of it a little bit like a waltz. He definitely has a predator thing going on, but there was something soulful about him, too.”

In addition to starring in the Reveal campaign, Guillermo del Toro’s thriller Crimson Peak, the survival drama The Mountain Between Us and Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur biopic, the self-proclaimed workaholic is also developing three of his own projects. “The outside world would be surprised at how little control actors have in the filmmaking process. For me,” Hunnam says, “it isn’t enough.”

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Calvin Klein Reveal Men Eau de Toilette, $92