Charlie Hunnam says he had to quit the cast of Fifty Shades of Grey because the enormous pressure he fell under as a result of his tight schedule and the huge buzz that followed the book adaptation caused him to have a ‘nervous breakdown.’
In a new interview with Moviefone, the Sons of Anarchy star said, ‘I wouldn’t have signed up in the first place if I didn’t want to do it. It was a really, really difficult time in my life.’
Hunnam said he ‘fell in love’ with the Fifty Shades character after meeting with the director Sam Taylor-Johnson. ‘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 balancing the production of such a huge movie with his lead role in Sons of Anarchy and Crimson Park became a thorny issue he realized soon enough.
‘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,’ he recalled. ‘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.’
On top of that, he became the talk of the internet due to his being cast as Christian Grey – which added to his problems.
‘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,’ he said. ‘I bit off more than I could chew and it was painful. I loved the character and I wanted to do it.’
Hunnam was replaced by Jamie Dornan.