When he began the casting process for his new film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, director Guy Ritchie had a long list of candidates. But Charlie Hunnam wasn't one of them. Meanwhile, Hunnam heard about the project. "I promptly threw my name in the hat," he says, "and Guy threw it back out!" Undaunted, Hunnam took action. "I jumped on a plane and showed up on his doorstep and said, 'Let's have a cup of tea,'" he laughs. "By the end of that cup of tea, I think he decided he quite liked me, so he let me audition and I finally got the job."

Charlie Hunnam eventually out performed the competitionCharlie Hunnam eventually out performed the competition

His determination to pursue the role was rooted in his childhood. "I had grown up with the Arthurian legends," Hunnam says. "At the point in my life where I wanted to become an actor, John Boorman's movie Excalibur was one of the films that I found myself watching over and over again. It was a film that I really studied. It captured my imagination. I'm talking about very young - six, seven, eight, when you realise that there is more than just watching the story play out, that there is an actual process behind it."

And he knew Ritchie would bring a new angle to the legend. "I would say it's a young, cool, irreverent, rock 'n' roll rendition," Hunnam says. "There is a lot of banter and fun, but at the centre it's about a man ascending to his greatest potential. In order to do that you have to look inside and deal with all of your personal demons and the voices in your head that tell you you are inadequate or incapable of pulling the sword from the stone, as it were. So really the biggest villain or biggest challenge that Arthur faces is quieting his own sense of inadequacy, which is something we can all relate to."

One of Hunnam's biggest challenges in taking the role was nailing the accent. After living in America for years, including six years starring in Sons of Anarchy, his native British accent had faded. "I had adopted just naturally to American cadences and inflection," he says. "So I hired a dialect coach to help me get back into the right rhythm of British speech. But also I'm from the north of England and this takes place in the south, and those are very different dialects. So even the English that remained in my dialect wasn't appropriate for this. It was hard work!"

Watch the trailer and clips for King Arthur: