The Boyfriend of the Week

March 19, 2004

Boy, it's been awhile since a Boyfriend of the Week has generated so much email! Last week's write-up on Matt Damon sure got a lot of you writin', which was fantabulous. But the weird part was how many of you were upset that I'd broken down and featured a Hollywood superstar. A golden boy. An "It" guy. A hotshot. I gave you Damon, you fired back with Weapons of Matt Destruction (to steal a great phrase from a likewise great friend). And, the truly fishy thing is that I didn't hear nearly this amount of grumbling when I featured Keanu Reeves or Brad Pitt. But maybe that was just because Keanu is just so insanely good looking and Brad has made his fair share of bizarre and cool films? Dunno. When it comes to fishiness, I'm 100% don't ask, don't smell.

In my defense, it hadn't actually occurred to me that people considered Matt Damon to be a mega-star. When I stopped to think about it, I realized that was kind of how I had felt about him two or so years ago (right about the time I mentioned somewhere on the site that I'd never be featuring either him or Ben Affleck -- ahem). But these days, he hasn't seemed to be around so much, although that perception might primarily exist because I've chosen to completely block from memory some of his latest big pictures. Take for example the one in which he played half of a set of Siamese twins and the story seemed to be mainly focused on how Siamese twins went poo and had sex. Thanks and all, but some things I like to keep a mystery.

But, anyway, to show you that I listen, I've decided to bump this week's Boyfriend up in my schedule. He ought to help bring things back into balance here on the site, as I suspect the vast majority of you guys have never even heard of him. You know how much I love to feature the relatively unknown, even while I might occasionally lapse into featuring the relatively Matt Damon. So, I think this will make us all happy. Except for those of us still waiting for that Orlando Bloom write-up, that is. For those girls, there's still no joy in Megville. Mighty Orly has struck out.

Okay then, this week's WhoDat Boyfriend is named Charlie Hunnam, and so far, my actual exposure to him has been pretty limited (and yet, very inspirational. You know, in terms of, like, drool). I've only seen him in two things: the movie "Abandon" with Katie Holmes and the film "Nicholas Nickleby." He's been in more stuff than that, most notably the cable series "Queer as Folk" (the UK version, which I can't seem to find over here in the US), but not much more. And this I simply do not understand. Hel-lo! Gorgeous!

Now, what's funny (strange) about my crush on Charlie is that I saw "Abandon" twice, thought he was totally sexy both times, in a messy-haired musician kinda way, and both times, completely forgot all about him immediately afterwards. It wasn't until I rented "Nicholas Nickleby" a month or two ago that I finally got off my butt and looked him up, and at the time, I didn't even recognize him as being the same actor from "Abandon." This part is pretty understandable, though, given the fact he was wearing a big top-hat-like thing a lot in "Nicholas" and was pretty perfectly coifed the rest of the time. Signature messy hairdo incognito.

What's even more funny (strange), though, is that I saw "Nicholas Nickleby" in the first place, having acquired and staunchly maintained for decades a solid disdain for all things Charles Dickens. It all started when I was forced to read "Great Expectations" in junior high. With a title like that, your expectations in terms of enjoyment are bound to be, well, great. But around the bazillionth time Dickens had described the most mundane thing using 500 words or more, I started to seriously wonder if the man had ever had an editor and, if so, whether said editor had been fired yet. And when I next learned that Dickens was windy because he was paid by the word (is that actually true, by the way? I went all Jayson Blair on the fact-checking thing), I just got really uppity about selling out one's talents for cash. Hey, I was in junior high -- we were all uppity about stuff like that. It started with "Stand" by REM, and went quickly downhill from there.

And while I am happily willing to concede that Charles spins a fine yarn, am I the only one who's noticed all his yarns are pretty much the same?

Anyway, what got me to check the movie out was that a Dickens fan I know dared me to rent it and NOT love it. Double-dog dared me, actually. And while I learned to hate Dickens in junior high, I also there learned never, ever to back down to a double-dog dare. Vive le resistance! You will never take me alive!

Okay, that's maybe a bit of an exaggeration. To be honest, I just went all Stephen Glass on that story (you guys are getting my lyin'-journalist jokes, right?). What actually happened was that a friend of mine, who coincidentally happens to like Charles Dickens, told me the movie was good. I actually double-dog dared myself, which is sort of embarrassing in retrospect, because daring yourself to watch a movie is kind of pathetic. I mean, if you're all up for challenging yourself, why not triple-dog dare yourself to do something more productive, like write a novel? Or, at the very least, single-dog dare yourself to floss your teeth? And even then, I only made this self-dare when the twentieth minute had passed since I'd entered the video store and I still didn't have anything in my pile. I saw "Nickleby" on the shelf and thought, "Eh, it can't be AWFUL, anyway." So, I brought it home, plopped it into the DVD player, and sat down to give it a try. And that's when the weirdest thing happened. . .

I loved it!

Yes, it's just like every Dickens story ever written and turned into a movie. It's got the extremely thin cruel woman, the poor orphan victim (a cripple no less!), the mean rich guy, the boisterous fat guy, the goody-two-shoes main character, the cheek-pinching fat lady, and, of course, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum. Oh wait, that's Lewis Carroll. Sorry. Nevermind that one.

But, all the same, the movie is just bursting with Dickensian sweetness and it was exactly what I needed at the time I saw it. I greatly enjoyed it. And, even more important, I greatly enjoyed Charlie Hunnam in it!

There's just something about ol' Charlie that I really like, and it's not just that he looks great in big hats (though, of course, that too). It's not even really that he's gorgeous, because, despite the fact that he is gorgeous, his face is actually just a little bit on the weird side. It's kind of too broad, or something. In fact, sometimes he almost makes me think of what you'd get if Brad Pitt sat down in the park and let one of those street artists draw a caricature of him and then that caricature turned into an actual human being. Named Charlie. You know what I mean? He's like an exaggeration of Brad Pitt, if that makes any sense. And if that doesn't make any sense, well, that probably makes more sense.

What?

But, he just has the most addictive little twisty smile, and the sexiest hair, and a really mesmerizing way of moving around. I like watching him and hearing him talk. And, ta boot, he's also a darn fine actor.

Now, part of my definition for the phrase "darn fine actor" includes a lengthy section on the ability to play roles that are polar opposites of each other, and to be wholly believable in both parts. For Charlie, you can compare and contrast two such characters just by looking at Embry Larkin from "Abandon" and Nicholas Nickleby from "Movie of Same Name." See? Look:

Embry Larkin Nicky Nick
Stuck-up snob Friend to orphans
Really stuck-up musician Talentless, yet charming member of cute little theater troupe
Incredibly stuck-up rich kid Friend to the impoverished. And also, impoverished.
Majorly, and I mean MAJORLY stuck-up jerkface of a boyfriend to a really disturbed young woman played by the dark-haired Katie Holmes Majorly, and I mean MAJORLY gentle courter of a sweet damsel-in-distress played by Anne Hathaway, who coincidentally also has dark hair. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

You see? He's a big fat jerk in "Abandon" and a total sweetie in "NN." Ah shucks, I'm getting all glowy just thinking about it, really. I mean, cute AND talented? MAN, I LOVE my job!

Anyway, both movies are great and I highly recommend them. However, before you run right out and snatch them up, I feel it's also my duty to warn you that this declaration of "greatness" just came from a woman who also adores movies about natural disasters, large killer reptiles, and zombies. Do with this information what you will.

I dare ya.

Now, as I said earlier, Charlie's career is really just startin' out, so there aren't many fan sites about him yet, which means I couldn't find out very much in the way of biographical information. But, I can tell you that Charles Hunnam was born in Newcastle, England, on April 10th, 1980. He has three brothers, all of whom are older, and got his first real acting gig at age 9 when he was cast in the popular UK TV series "Byker Grove." Though he auditioned for the role of Anakin Skywalker in "Star Wars Episode Two," he lost that role to Hayden Christensen who, brace yourselves ladies, CANNOT ACT (and who, coincidentally, just played Stephen Glass in a movie). But Hunnam's roles in "Abandon" and "Nicky Nick" were pretty well accepted by US critics and audiences, and last year, he landed a role in the blockbuster and Oscar-nominated movie "Cold Mountain."

He was married for a few years, but is now divorced. And with the success of "Cold Mountain," I'm sure his days as a single man will be numbered. (With great fame comes great responsibility -- to the ladies.) He's already got two more pictures in the works, too. The first is "Ask the Dust" starring Colin Farrell (the un-Boyfriend!). It's the movie based on the novel of the same name (by John Fante) set during the Depression and about a young man trying to become a writer. He thinks pretending to be an American, instead the Italian he actually is, will get him ahead faster. But when he becomes rich, he discovers that giving up his heritage for money can lead to a serious identity crisis. And lo, these were the days before there was therapy to help you work through that kind of crap. This crisis is not helped, either, when he meets a gorgeous Mexican chick who wants to marry him because she believes he is who he says he is (a rich American) and she wants to get ahead faster. No real hilarity ensues, although that would be nice, but it sure will make you feel good to be an American. Or, you know, not.

After that comes something a little lighter, thank god. It's "The Yank," in which Charlie stars as a recently expelled Harvard student who travels to London and is introduced to the crazy European soccer culture. ("Goooooooal!") Could be good. Especially since it costars ex-hobbit Elijah Wood.

Both these movies have the potential to propel Charles even further into the mainstream Matt Damon Hollywood world. But when it does, don't forget that I saw him first.

DIBS.

MacGyver Factor Score: 96.23% Points off because, frankly, he's just not working hard enough. I want more Charlie Hunnam! What is he doing with all his spare time? Only two movies coming out in the next two years? What the &*@%?!

Of course, this might not be all his fault. But since when do I take THAT into consideration? Get a job, already!


Boyfriend-Related Links
Charlie's IMDB Page
BBC Interview of Charlie
Charlie Hunnam Fan Listing


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