Charlie Hunnam gained notoriety playing Jax Teller on Sons of Anarchy from 2008-2014 but it turns out Hunnam had a chance to play a role in the 2008 comedy, FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL. The film starred Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, and Russell Brand and as it turns out, Segel wrote a role for Hunnam in the film and he revealed to “Collider” why he had to turn it down.
“Maybe. It’s funny, I’ll tell you a little story. Jason Segel wrote Forgetting Sarah Marshall for he and I to do together, and he wrote that [Russell Brand] role [of Aldous Snow] for me. I went and I did the table read and it was very successful. Judd was producing. 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. Jason was one of my best friends [the pair had worked together on ‘Undeclared’], 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.’ 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.’”
The Judd that Hunnam is referring to is Judd Apatow. The duo had previously worked together on the short-lived series, Undeclared, which ran for the 2001-2002 season and was created by Apatow. The actor actually met Jason Segel on the show and the two became best friends which led to Segel writing the Aldous Snow character for Hunnam. Even though turning down the role so he could follow the path he wanted to travel may have not gone over well with certain people involved in the production, Hunnam realized he ultimately made the right decision. He believes it was a great personal decision for himself but it became obvious to him that Russel Brand was the best choice for the role. However, Hunnam explains that he didn’t gain clarity about turning the film down until months later:
“It was one of those things where it was really difficult for me for the few months after that or a year after that, and then I saw this piece of stand-up. I didn’t know who Russell Brand was, but I saw this piece of stand-up that Russell Brand did on Christmas day with my mom. It was just this liberating moment where I said, ‘Obviously, that’s the dude who should have been playing that role. Clearly, I just needed to step out of the way of the universe manifesting itself, the way that it was supposed to.’ 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. I think there’s a rhythm to these things and you just have to really follow your instincts. It’s all you can really ever do. I suppose I brought that up because it’s a nice example of my instincts being proven to me that it was correct.”
Hunnam is obviously right about his instincts. Those instincts led him to his role on Sons of Anarchy, which is arguably one of the best shows to premiere in the last 15 years. His instincts also kept him away from FIFTY SHADES OF GREY when he was a top choice to play Christian Grey in the film adaptation. Not to say it wouldn’t have been good for him to be in those films from a financial standpoint but I’d say he dodged a bullet based on how critics chewed those films up and spit them out. He’s gone on to appear in some solid efforts like PACIFIC RIM, CRIMSON PEAK, and THE GENTLEMEN so I’d say he’s doing ok for himself.
FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL followed a devastated Peter Bretter who decides to take a Hawaiian vacation in order to deal with the recent break-up with his TV star girlfriend, Sarah. Little does he know, Sarah’s traveling to the same resort as her ex and she’s bringing along her new boyfriend. Russell Brand played the new boyfriend, Aldous Snow, and while I think Hunnam could’ve pulled it off, Brand does steal the show in the role and it stands as my favorite thing that Russell Brand has done.
Do YOU think Charlie Hunnam was right to turn down the film?