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How Charlie Hunnam talked his way into being King Arthur

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/11/2017 By JILL DOBSON, Associated Press
Actor Charlie Hunnam poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'King Arthur The Legend Of The Sword'', in London, Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Actor Charlie Hunnam poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'King Arthur The Legend Of The Sword'', in London, Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

LONDON (AP) — Charlie Hunnam says he convinced director Guy Ritchie to cast him as King Arthur after the two bonded over marijuana — talking about it, not indulging in it.

Actor Charlie Hunnam, left, and director Guy Ritchie pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'King Arthur The Legend Of The Sword'', in London, Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Actor Charlie Hunnam, left, and director Guy Ritchie pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'King Arthur The Legend Of The Sword'', in London, Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

"I heard Guy Ritchie's 'King Arthur' and I thought, 'That's a brilliant idea,' and I just sort of saw it right away and wanted to be a part of it," said Ritchie while promoting the film Wednesday. "And so, we presented that to Guy, my agent, and he just really wasn't interested. And I said, 'That is just unacceptable, my friend.'"

Actor Charlie Hunnam poses for photographs upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'King Arthur The Legend Of The Sword'', in London, Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Actor Charlie Hunnam poses for photographs upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'King Arthur The Legend Of The Sword'', in London, Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
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So Hunnam booked a trip to London on a week off from filming "Sons of Anarchy" and landed a meeting with Ritchie. He had a standard pitch raring to go but quickly learned Ritchie didn't want to even talk about the movie.

"He actually creatively was interested in the medical marijuana business in California of which I knew a little bit about. So we ended up bizarrely talking about medical marijuana for two hours. But, what I realized in hindsight was, he just wanted to get to know me as a chap. He didn't really care about what my theories about Arthur was or what my opinions of the script were because, he already knew what he wanted to do. What he wanted to see was what I was about and whether we saw life in the same way."

Hunnam seems to be having a moment in Hollywood right now because "The Lost City of Z" — in which he stars as a British explorer — and "King Arthur" are coming out back-to-back. But he says that's just coincidental.

"'Arthur' is like a giant juggernaut of a movie and my fear was that 'Lost City of Z' would sort of get swallowed in the whole mix and so we fought to keep them really apart but we lost the fight," he said.

"I'm disconnected from that because the huge moment, for me, was when I shot the films and when I got the films. I mean, for an actor, the greatest moments of our lives is when we get the call telling us that we got a role that we really wanted."

"King Arthur: Legend of the Sword" opens in the UK on 19 May and in the United States on 12 May.

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