Charlie Hunnam on ‘Papillon’, the Egregious Privatization of the Prison System, and ‘Children of Men’

     September 21, 2017

One of the many films to premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was director Michael Noer’s Papillon. Based on the international best-selling autobiography, and a remake of the Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman 1973 film, the movie follows the epic story of Henri “Papillon” Charrière (Charlie Hunnam), a safecracker from the Parisian underworld who is framed for murder and condemned to life in the notorious penal colony on Devil’s Island. Determined to regain his freedom, Papillon forms an unlikely alliance with quirky convicted counterfeiter Louis Dega (Rami Malek), who in exchange for protection, agrees to finance Papillon’s escape, ultimately resulting in a bond of lasting friendship. The film also stars Yorick Van Wageningen, Roland Møller, Tommy Flanagan and Eve Hewson.

Shortly after seeing the film at TIFF, I sat down with Charlie Hunnam for an exclusive video interview. He talked about his busy year, what he remembers about making Children of Men, how much he learned working with cinematographer Darius Khondji, the reason he agreed to star in Papillon after originally being apprehensive about the project, how the film explores the fundamental nature of love, and more. In addition, Hunnam talks about the various projects he writing and his aspirations to direct.


Image via TIFF

Check out what he had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about.

Charlie Hunnam:

  • :02 – Talks about how his busy year promoting three different films and the experience in Toronto.
  • :50 – What does he remember about making Children of Men?
  • 1:50 – Talks about how much he learned working with cinematographer Darius Khondji on Lost City of Z, and how it impacted how he approaches productions from now on.
  • 3:35 – How did he get involved in Papillon and was he apprehensive about remaking a classic? Says he initially turned it down.
  • 5:20 – Talks about the reason to make this movie, which is analyzing the state of the contemporary American prison system.
  • 6:45 – Explains how his introduction to prison privatization was when his financial advisor recommended he invest in prisons.
  • 8:35 – Talks about blending the privatization aspect with exploring the fundamental nature of love in the movie.
  • 10:41 – Is he doing Triple Frontier? Says the failure of King Arthur made him decide to take the rest of the year off.
  • 12:30 – Talks about his screenwriting and aspirations to direct.

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