The voiceover at the beginning of the first episode described Hunnam's character as "the one-night stand that never went away". "She told me not to tell the cab driver whose house I was going to," he remembers of the ride to the star's Beverly Hills home. Certainly he understood that, to play a gun-running gang's violent-but-idealistic vice-president Jax, he would have to research the codes and nefarious activities of the Hells Angels and their outlaw associates.
") Inside, a crew of dinner guests were waiting for the teenage Geordie, including Sandra Bernhard and the actress Debbie Mazar ("Debbie Mazar! Critically acclaimed, in its second season – which starts here on Bravo on Wednesday – Sons of Anarchy was the highest-rated cable show on American TV last year.
Season three begins shooting in Los Angeles next week.
"The show is obviously larger than life," Hunnam says of a series that is part Sopranos (crime family operating as quasi-normal family) and part Shakespeare (the Hamlet-like Jax's dead father founded the Sons of Anarchy gang; his iron-willed mother is now married to the club's vicious president).
"There is almost a graphic novel approach to this world.
Charlie Hunnam knew what he was letting himself in for. Within minutes of appearing on a TV screen in his first major role, playing a 15-year-old schoolboy, he'd be having his naked bum licked by a drug-taking club Lothario.
"I was just thrown into this world and it was all so exciting, and I didn't really have any gauge of what was a normal day on a set and what wasn't," the actor says of his appearance in Channel 4's headline-rattling 1999 drama Queer as Folk. I was just amazed that I'd been given this opportunity. Fame had come walloping into his life, and he wasn't sure he liked it.I jumped in head first."Did getting his kit off, sticking his legs behind his ears and pretending to prematurely ejaculate on another actor's chest come easily? Charlie Hunnam didn't know what he was letting himself in for."I wouldn't say it came easily," laughs Hunnam, who turned 30 this month. " Newcastle-born Hunnam was 18 when Russell T Davies – more recently Doctor Who's reboot Svengali – cast him as young Nathan in the writer/creator's ground-breaking series set amid Manchester's vibrant gay community. He signed on for the lead role in Sons of Anarchy, a new American TV drama about biker gangs in northern California, knowing that the material was lyrical, intense and violent.But the thing that grounds it is Kurt's attention to detail," he adds.Sutter, a tattooed, imposing figure who plays an imprisoned gang member in the show, spent time getting to know biker gangs in northern California."The details – the right bikes, the right clothes – give us licence to tell very big stories." Eleven years since he relocated to LA to pursue his acting career, the Queer as Folk kid, who largely disappeared from UK screens for almost a decade, is back, and he's joining the likes of Hugh Laurie (House) and Dominic West (The Wire) in the ranks of Brit actors heading up quality American TV drama.