Several key faces from 2013’s “Pacific Rim” aren’t returning for the sequel, most notably Charlie Hunnam’s lead character of Raleigh Beckett.
Speaking with Den of Geek this week, Hunnam confirms that the reason he couldn’t be a part of the recently wrapped “Pacific Rim: Uprising” is because the project went from stalling to moving forward at such an unexpectedly fast pace that he hit a scheduling conflict with a dream project he was in – a remake of “Papillion”:
“There was a huge scheduling conflict. I was already really, really invested in doing Papillion. What happened was Legendary was sold to Wanda, which is the big Chinese corporation, and Pacific Rim, although it underperformed in other territories in the world, was an enormous success in China.
All of a sudden, it became their primary focus to make this 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?
I have great relationships with everyone at Legendary, and they were incredibly generous to me and let me out of my contract. 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.”
The sale of Legendary Entertainment took place in January last year with the announcement of “Pacific Rim 2” a month later and shooting getting underway at the end of the year. While both Hunnam and Idris Elba won’t be returning, actors Burn Gorman, Charlie Day, and Rinko Kikuchi are involved in the follow-up which will open early 2018.