Welcome to our series, the T+L Carry-On, where we take a look inside the luggage of those who find themselves frequently traveling around the world — and gain a few expert tips along the way.
You may know Charlie Hunnam from “Sons of Anarchy,” but this weekend the actor is hitting the big screen in “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” a new film directed by Guy Ritchie.
Travel + Leisure sat down with Hunnam to talk about shooting on location in Wales and Scotland — and how he travels when he isn't fighting to retake the throne.
How was shooting on location for the film?
Charlie Hunnam: “It was great. We had such a blast, particularly in Wales. Guy decided it would be lovely for us to camp ... I mean, not really camp — I camp for real — this was not really camping, this was five-star glamping. But we slept in our trailers right by a lake. It was really sort of a rhythm of filmmaking I’ve always dreamed of, where you’re just with the film, within that little unit of filmmakers day in and day out. We’d finish work, walk over to our trailers, have a little walk through the countryside, and then we’d have a little camp fire and cook some food.”
“I think it was March, maybe just turning April, and this lake was fed from the snowmelt from the mountains, and at 5:30 every morning we'd take the plunge into the frozen lake. It was extraordinarily cold. I grew up around lakes and streams — cold ones — and I was always jumping in. Even knowing how deeply unpleasant it’s going to be, I can never resist jumping into a nice body of water, you know?”
What did the locations in the U.K. add to the film?
“Scale, scope, and some beauty. I love that part of the world in particular ... I’ve been able to travel a lot in my life and see a lot of the world, but that is my favorite type of landscape. I find it very, very stirring — there’s a sense of magic you get in those hills.”
How do you travel when it’s not for work?
“I’m so frugal, and not a fancy person at all, but I’ve become completely spoiled when it comes to air travel. I find that the reality is there’s something inhumane about long-haul flights in economy. There should be some base requirements about what is acceptable. I’m six foot! You have to be a contortionist to get into those seats.”
Window or aisle?
Airplane food. Love it or hate it?
“Hate it. I always pack my own food. I’m an enormous fan of an egg salad sandwich on the road. If I’m taking a road trip, I’ll get up at 3 o’clock in the morning if I have to, to make myself an egg salad sandwich before I go. Also a lot of fruit, tons of water, and a salad, I just try to keep it clean. I find the more you aggressively try to take care of yourself the less significant the jet lag is.”
What else (besides the egg salad sandwich) do you never travel without?
“My back roller. I carry one of those dense foam rollers, and that thing just saves my life. I went to Thailand on a two-week vacation with my girlfriend — the first time I’ve been on a proper vacation in about 8 years — and we wanted to be footloose and fancy free, and so we took the bare minimum. Just a tiny little backpack each, and I didn’t take that back roller. And 3 days in, after 5 or 6 years of rolling my back out every day, and I thought: This was a terrible oversight. Never again.”
Where’s the one place you’ve been that most surprised you?
“China, last week. Beijing. I loved it, and I was not anticipating that at all. I was there exclusively for work, and I was so excited by how genuinely positive and fresh and forward-thinking everybody is in the film business. And great food, and no smog, which I heard was very unique. We’d gotten really, really lucky the two days we were there. I felt like it was going to be a little formal and intimidating — like “Lost in Translation” — but I didn’t find it to be that at all.”
“What's one place on your bucket list that you absolutely have to go?”
“New Zealand. It looks beautiful, it looks like the landscape is gorgeous, and I hear they’ve got a very advanced appreciation for farm-to-table dining. And I don’t know, I feel some draw there. I suppose, just energetically, it seems like quite a pure and unspoiled place, and I’d really like to go there.”
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.