Here’s A Breakdown Of All The Iconic Movie Roles That Were Very Nearly Played By Charlie Hunnam

"Sometimes it’s about the vibes," Charlie said as he reflected on the lost role.

Back in 2013, Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam was cast in the highly-anticipated role of Christian Grey in the movie adaptation of the bestselling erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

Closeup of Charlie Hunnam ina suit and tie

However, just over a month later, it was revealed that Charlie had dropped out of the project, with Universal issuing a statement to explain that this was due to scheduling issues.

Closeup of Charlie Hunnam

The statement said that Charlie and the filmmakers, including director Sam Taylor-Johnson, had “agreed to find another male lead given Hunnam's immersive TV schedule which is not allowing him time to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey."

A closeup of someone's hands tied with rope  from "Fifty Shades of Grey"

Jamie Dornan ended up taking the role instead, and Charlie starred as Jax Teller in Sons of Anarchy for another year.

Then, in 2020, Charlie revealed that there was another iconic movie role that he was lined up to play before he ultimately chose to drop out of the project.

Charlie Hunnam sitting for a late night TV interview

This incident actually predated Fifty Shades, but Charlie hadn’t opened up about it before. In an interview with Collider, he explained that Russell Brand’s standout role in the 2008 film Forgetting Sarah Marshall had actually been written especially for him.

Russell Brand in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"

In case you didn’t know, the movie was written by Jason Segel, and he and Charlie were close friends in the early '00s. Charlie, who was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in England, ultimately ended up inspiring Jason to create the British rock star Aldous Snow.

Closeup of Charlie Hunnam

Charlie revealed that he’d even had a table read with the rest of the cast before he decided that he needed to walk away from the project because it didn’t align with that period of his career.

Closeup of Charlie Hunnam

“Jason Segel wrote Forgetting Sarah Marshall for he and I to do together, and he wrote that [Russell Brand] role for me,” Charlie explained. “I went and I did the table read, and it was very successful.”

Closeup of Jason Segel

“I was in a dark night of the soul in my career, at that point, and felt as though I needed to seize the trajectory and that just wasn't really aligning with, at that period of my life and career, what I wanted to be doing,” he continued. “Jason was one of my best friends, which is why he wrote the film for me, but I had to tell him, 'I'm so sorry, I'm not gonna do this.’”

Closeup of Charlie Hunnam

And Charlie admitted that his decision did not go down well, with the star sharing: “It was one of those things where that wasn't very well received by the inner circle of that production. I had to stand my ground and say, 'Listen, it's nothing personal. I'm just following my North star. I'm just in a weird spot and I'm trying to define for myself what the path forward is.'"

Forgetting Sarah Marshall ended up being a huge hit, and the character of Aldous Snow was so well-received by viewers that the character landed his own spin-off, Get Him to the Greek, which Russell starred in in 2010.

Closeup of Russell Brand

Charlie confessed that for a year after he turned down the project things were “really difficult,” but when he stumbled upon Russell’s standup one Christmas, he realized that walking away from Forgetting Sarah Marshall was the right decision.

Screenshot from "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"

“It was just this liberating moment where I said, 'Obviously, that's the dude who should have been playing that role,’” he said. “Clearly, I just needed to step out of the way of the universe manifesting itself, the way that it was supposed to.”

Closeup of Charlie Hunnam

“My relationship with Jason gave birth to that character, but there's no way I could have done it justice the way Russell Brand did,” he added. “I think there's a rhythm to these things and you just have to really follow your instincts.”

Screenshot from "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"

And now, in a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, Charlie has revealed yet another famous movie character that he very nearly played — Anakin Skywalker from the Star Wars franchise.

Closeup of Hayden Christensen and Darth Vader

Unlike Christian Grey and Aldous Snow, Charlie was never actually cast in this role, but he did get far enough in the audition process to meet with George Lucas, which is where it seemingly all went wrong.

Closeup of George Lucas

While promoting his new movie Rebel Moon, Charlie was asked if it was true that he was auditioned for the 2002 role. “I had forgotten that until you said, but yes I did,” he confirmed. “Years and years ago, I met with George Lucas.”

Closeup of Charlie Hunnam

When asked how close he got to securing the role, Charlie said: “I got to the point where I was meeting George Lucas, which… I don’t think he meets with a lot of actors. I think it was probably two, three actors they were considering — I don’t remember much about it.”

Closeup of a young Charlie Hunnam

Describing what he did remember from the meeting, the star said: “I remember that I was nervous and I was a little bit awkward. And I just remember walking out and thinking: ‘Well, I’m definitely not getting that role,’ and I was correct. Sometimes it’s about the vibes.”

Closeup of young Charlie Hunnam on the red carpet

The role ended up going to Hayden Christensen, but over the years, it has been revealed that everybody from Leonardo DiCaprio to Ryan Phillippe to Paul Walker were considered.

Closeup of a young Hayden Christensen

Charlie was 19 years old when he got his breakout role in the British TV series Queer as Folk in 1999, which has a huge cult following.

The cast of "Queer As Folk"

He came to prominence in America when he was cast as lead character Jax in the 2008 series Sons of Anarchy, which aired until 2014.

Skip to footer