Charlie Hunnam on Fifty Shades of Grey Co-Star Dakota Johnson: "There's Just a Tangible Chemistry"

Celebrity News Sep. 8, 2013 AT 11:15AM
Charlie Hunnam. Charlie Hunnam stepped out for his first official appearance since being cast as Christian Grey in the film adaption of Fifty Shades of Grey on Saturday, Sept. 7, revealing the audition process and his "tangible chemistry" with co-star Dakota Johnson -- and what his real-life girlfriend thinks! Credit: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Charlie Hunnam is ready to take on Christian Grey. The 33-year-old actor stepped out for his first official appearance since the Fifty Shades of Grey casting news at the Sons of Anarchy sixth season premiere at the Dolby Theatre Saturday, Sept. 7, and revealed how he became the Grey to Dakota Johnson's Anastasia Steele.

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"I met with [director] Sam Taylor-Johnson a couple of times. She'd asked to meet me and we talked at length about the role, the movie and what her intention was," he said on the red carpet. "I felt really intrigued and excited about it so I went and read the first book to get a clearer idea of who this character was, and I felt even more excited at the prospect of bringing him to life."

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Acknowledging the film adaptation of the three book series as "a big commitment," the actor initially pressed the director for a more in-depth session to explore the character. "We kind of both suggested I do a reading with Dakota, who was her favorite, and as soon as we got in the room and I started reading with Dakota I knew that I definitely wanted to do it," he said of the audition. "There's just like a tangible chemistry between us. It felt exciting and fun and weird and compelling."

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His longtime girlfriend, jewelry designer Morgana McNelis, had no qualms about it either. "I didn't tell her the news, she was a part of the decision-making process," he quipped. "It's very hard to be with an actor. She's required to share parts of me that she wouldn't really want to share so of course with the nature of this role that's going to be times ten. So it was a decision we made together but you know, she loved the books, she read them and loved them and she was really excited at the potential of this opportunity for me and if anything I think it will bring us closer."

As for the explicit nature of the series, the hunky bearded blonde isn't sweating it. "If you look back in my history, my first job was on a channel 4 miniseries called Queer as Folk and it was incredibly explicit sexual scenes with a man," he said. "So if I could do it when I was 18 with a guy I could certainly do it at 33 with a lady."

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