Old School Americana & Nostalgia

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Charlie Hunnam Based His ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Character on a Real Life Biker

Charlie Hunnam Based His ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Character on a Real Life Biker

Sons of Anarchy is a work of fiction by Kurt Sutter, but Charlie Hunnam took a page out of a real biker’s book while getting into character.

Hunnam led Sons of Anarchy throughout, portraying Jax on a transformative journey from SAMCRO’s hope for change to nearly destroying the MC. Of course, Jax’s tale draws many elements from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a confirmed inspiration for the show. Yet, Jax was largely influenced by a real biker Charlie Hunnam encountered.

In a 2015 interview with The Huffington Post, Hunnam discussed his experience with real motorcycle clubs. He found himself clocking serious hours with a club during the Sons of Anarchy kick-off rehearsals, bumping into the real deal Jax Teller.

Charlie Hunnam Meets the Real Biker That He Based Jax Teller On

Charlie Hunnam shared that he visited Oakland before the start of filming for Sons of Anarchy season 1. He spent time with a prominent club based in Oakland, immersing himself in the essence of motorcycle club life.

Upon arrival, he encountered a 22-year-old club member whom Hunnam described as embodying the persona of “Jax Teller.” This individual’s father was also part of the club, having dedicated his entire life to it, making the young man “the heir apparent.”

Hunnam proceeded to characterize the unidentified biker as possessing a remarkable aura reminiscent of an “old-school outlaw, cowboy,” in contemporary times.

Regrettably, as Hunnam recounts, he met his demise a week after departing Oakland, reminiscent of Jax’s fate in Sons of Anarchy. Hunnam received his necklace as a keepsake in his honor. The biker left such a lasting impression on the actor that every aspect of Jax was influenced by him – from his choice of attire to his gestures.

Jax, inspired by a real Oakland biker, had a unique, Shakespearean-like journey. Intriguingly, Jax Teller’s fate mirrored his real-life counterpart, as he orchestrated his demise in the Sons of Anarchy finale.

It’s difficult to fathom the alternate path Jax might have taken if Hunnam hadn’t encountered that young biker. However, that experience undoubtedly infused Jax’s character with heightened realism and emotion.

Of course, SOA was pretty famous for touches of authenticity. Charlie Hunnam’s character in Sons of Anarchy not only drew inspiration from a real biker but also included actual members of Hells Angels for an authentic touch.

Throughout the show’s seven seasons, actors like David Labrava, Rusty Coones, Chuck Zito, and Ralph “Sonny” Barger portrayed various roles, adding depth to the series.