Pacific Rim star Charlie Hunnam explains the scheduling conflicts that led to his absence from the sequel, Pacific Rim: Uprising. Hunnam, of course, was enjoying the success of his hit FX series Sons of Anarchy when he played the lead role of a pilot co-commandeering a giant robotic vehicle (known as a jaeger) battling immense sea monsters (the kaiju) in writer-director Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 action thriller Pacific Rim.

And while Pacific Rim earned a respectable $101.8 million at the domestic box office and another $309.2 million in foreign territories for a final global take of $411 million, the film – which had a production budget of $190 million – didn’t muster the type of blockbuster success needed in the U.S. to immediately warrant a sequel.

Four years later, jaeger pilots are set to do battle against the kaiju once again in Pacific Rim: Uprising, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi star John Boyega in the lead. Hunnam, though, is nowhere to be found, and in an interview with Den of Geek for his new true-life adventure drama The Lost City of Z, the actor says his absence in Pacific Rim: Uprising came down to a big decision: Do the long awaited sequel or move forward with a remake of Steven McQueen’s 1973 prison escape drama Papillon.

Hunnam says that despite the lull following the first Pacific Rim, the sequel moved forward quickly after the film’s production company Legendary Entertainment was sold to the Chinese corporation Wanda.

“Although it underperformed in other territories in the world, [Pacific Rim] was an enormous success in China. All of a sudden, it became their primary focus to make [Pacific Rim: Uprising] and they wanted to do it very, very rapidly … I think their schedule subsequently changed, and I might have been able to do both, but at that time, they were writing the script and they needed to know, was I in or was I out?”

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Regretfully, Hunnam says, he had to choose the latter, but then-Legendary chairman Thomas Tull gracefully released the actor from his contract. Hunnam says:

“He was like, ‘Dude, you were going to do that other film and that’s where your heart is. I don’t want you being on set if you’re not going to be happy, so go do the other film,’ which was ludicrously generous of him. But that’s just the type of man he is.”

While Hunnam was forced to make a heartbreaking decision to step away from the Pacific Rim sequel, the move appears to be working out for all parties involved. Legendary nabbed a huge opportunity when Boyega emerged as an international star after the success of The Force Awakens, and Hunnam’s star is continuing to rise with the critically acclaimed Lost City of Z and the title role in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword next month. And who knows? Maybe a successful box office for Pacific Rim: Uprising will open an invite for Hunnam to join a third Pacific Rim film.

Next: Guillermo del Toro Reveals Why He Didn’t Direct Pacific Rim 2

Source: Den of Geek!

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