Why Charlie Hunnam Was ‘Grateful’ When Brad Pitt Dropped Out of 1 of the Top Movies of 2017

Charlie Hunnam has only accepted film roles since ending his seven-season run as Jax Teller on Sons of Anarchy in 2014. There was one particular movie that came his way because of Brad Pitt. The Fight Club star gave up the role of Col. Percival Fawcett in the Lost City of Z, and Hunnam stepped in. It ended up being one of the top movies of 2017; and for that, Hunnam says he is extremely “grateful.”

Charlie Hunnam The Lost City of Z
Charlie Hunnam | Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

‘The Lost City of Z’ was based on a true story

According to The Guardian, The Lost City of Z was a period drama based on the true story of Col. Percival Fawcett. He was an early 20th century Army officer and British explorer who became obsessed with finding a lost city that he believed was located deep in the Amazon jungle.

Writer and director James Gray adapted his screenplay from a 2005 New Yorker article and a book from David Grann. The film stars Sienna Miller as Fawcett’s wife, Nina. It also stars Spider-Man Tom Holland, who plays Fawcett’s son, Tom. Another A-lister who stars in the flick is Robert Pattinson. He plays Henry Costin, Fawcett’s disheveled assistant.

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Instead of focusing on one journey into the jungle, The Lost City of Z tells the story of Fawcett’s quest to prove his theory over many years. Not even World War I prevents him from returning to the jungle. The movie also shows that explorers can return home safely before going back out into the unknown.

Charlie Hunnam lost contact with his girlfriend for five months while shooting

The shoot for The Lost City of Z was not an easy one. According to Entertainment Weekly, it lasted for five months, and it took Hunnam away from his longtime girlfriend, Morgana McNelis. The actor was in Colombia for the shoot, and it began just five days after he wrapped filming on King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

Hunnam promised McNelis that he would write to her every day, but the mail system in Colombia was an issue.

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“We went to Colombia, and the mail system doesn’t really work very well,” Hunnam said. “It’s completely unreliable. I received a letter from her, and I realized that from the tone of it and things she was saying that she hadn’t received the two letters that I sent before.”

He admits that he stopped writing McNelis altogether, and was “very apologetic” when he returned home. Hunnam says the separation from McNelis helped him play the role of Percival Fawcett.

Charlie Hunnam is ‘grateful’ that Brad Pitt dropped out

Hunnam says that one of the things he and Gray felt strongly about exploring in the film was “the conflict between family life and the exterior demands that are made on us.”

The 40-year-old explained that everyone has social and economic demands that we have to deal with in life. They can either be in balance or in conflict with the internal drive, so we can be who we want to be and achieve the things we want to achieve.

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Being away from McNelis for five months helped him understand that conflict. Being able to return home to his girlfriend with “an appropriately sized gift” also helped Hunnam get out of trouble.

Hunnam told Extra that his starring role in The Lost City of Z was all because of Pitt. He says that when the Oscar-winner pulled out, they needed someone else and that’s when they called him. Hunnam says he is “very grateful” that Pitt decided against starring in the project, but he didn’t drop the project completely. Pitt was stayed on as a producer.