As you may remember, recently Jessica Chastain told a story of how it took the muscle of megastar Tom Cruise to convince a studio to let her out of her Oblivion contract so she could do Zero Dark Thirty. And today we've got a similar story of alternative movie history involving another big budget sci-fi movie. This time it's Pacific Rim star Charlie Hunnam explaining why he's not in Pacific Rim: Uprising.
Hunnam's scenario was a bit different from Chastain's, however. Pacific Rim wasn't immediately a big enough hit to demand a sequel, so Hunnam moved on to other things, including a new version of Papillion. But then the kaiju fighting movie became a big hit in China and suddenly a sequel became possible, which would have pulled Hunnam off of the project he had planned to do in its place. As he told Den of Geek:
“I had to do the film whether I liked it or not. When I spoke to (former Legendary chairman) Thomas Tull, who is a dear friend of mine, I said, ‘Listen, man. It's not that my heart is not in this. I'm invested in this creatively, but my heart's going to be broken because I already was going to do this other film.’ 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.”
Funnily enough, however, the Pacific Rim: Uprising shooting schedule ultimately shifted anyway, so Hunnam could have ended up doing both it and Papillion. But at the end of the day, the generosity of (former) Legendary Entertainment head honcho Thomas Tull probably saved the day for both the actor and the movie. Acknowldeging that Hunnam's heart would have been elsewhere and wouldn't have done the film any favors ultimately led them to being able to refocus the script onto new characters, in turn allowing them to cast John Boyega as the lead.
Now we just need to wait until Pacific Rim: Uprising hits theaters on February 23, 2018 to see if it was indeed the right call.