Guy Ritchie was hesitant to cast Charlie Hunnam as his leading man in King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword because he lacked the “robust physicality” required for the role.
The Pacific Rim star was desperate to land the role of the medieval monarch, so he flew to London and cornered the British director at his home in a bid to convince Ritchie he was his guy.
Joking about his efforts to land an audition, Charlie told Good Morning America, “I heard that Guy was doing King Arthur and I promptly threw my name in the hat, and Guy threw it back out, said, ‘I think you’re a nice chap, but I’m not really interested!'”
“I said, ‘Sorry mate, that’s unacceptable’,” he continued, “so I jumped on a plane and showed up on his doorstep and said, ‘Let’s have a cup of tea!’, and then by the end of that cup of tea… I think he decided he quite liked me, so he let me audition and I finally got the job, so it was a happy tale in the end!”
However, Charlie had his work cut out for him as he had to repeatedly assure Ritchie he would be able to adequately bulk up for the part.
“I was very, very skinny at the time and obviously playing this role requires a bit of a robust physicality,” he recalled, “and Guy questioned me about my ability to do this, because he hadn’t really seen any of my work and seen in other movies I’ve been quite formidable, so many times this idea of the physicality came up, and halfway through the audition, I said, ‘You know what Guy, if you’re that concerned about it (hire someone else)…'”
Ritchie, who made a surprise appearance to join Hunnam for his Good Morning America interview, admitted Charlie was not the kind of person he had envisioned as King Arthur, so it took him a while to feel fully comfortable in his casting.
“Unfortunately, I had a completely different actor in mind,” the filmmaker shared, “and that was the reason I was so apprehensive about meeting with Charlie Hunnam…”
Ritchie did not name the rival actor he initially wanted to work with, but he stuck with Hunnam and now King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, which co-stars Jude Law, Eric Bana, and soccer icon David Beckham, will hit theaters later this month (May17).