2013's PACIFIC RIM may look like a TRANSFORMERS knockoff on the surface but given the touch put on it by director Guillermo del Toro, the film is much better than a series of mindless action scenes that go nowhere. Charlie Hunnam took on the leading role in the ensemble action film but when it came to the sequel, PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING, Hunnam did not return for more anime-influenced action. Now, during an interview with Collider promoting his new film JUNGLELAND, Hunnam reveals why he wasn't able to return for the sequel.
"A lot of time went by between us doing [the sequel]. Certainly, when Guillermo was talking about it, then yeah, definitely, I was a part of that conversation and I think that his vision for it included me. But by the time they circled around and decided that they were gonna make it with a different director, we had a conversation about it but I was booked up. There were business elements of it that required them to go into production very quickly. Legendary had just been acquired by Wanda out of China, and they wanted that film made very quickly and I wasn't available. That's just what happens."
PACIFIC RIM had a massive budget of $190 million but thanks to its worldwide presence, the film managed to gross $411 million globally. Even though only $101.8 million came from the domestic front, it was clear that the growing box office market, particularly in China, would make a sequel profitable. Like most situations with tentpole releases, there was a rush to get the sequel out there, even if that meant losing del Toro as a director and Hunnam as a leading man. Despite not appearing in the sequel, the actor doesn't really think about what might have been:
"I didn't deeply lament it. I'd been working in long-form storytelling for a while and we'd already done one Pacific Rim, so I felt like, "Go with God. Go do your thing." I actually haven't seen the sequel, so I didn't ever give myself an opportunity to really think about whether I regret that decision or not."
In terms of the box office, Hunnam didn't really miss out on anything with the PACIFIC RIM sequel. The film proved to be less successful than the first, grossing $59.8 million domestically and $290.9 million worldwide. The budget was brought down a bit at $150 million but diminishing returns from the sequel likely pumped the breaks on more installments in the near future.
In the first film, as a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse. The movie also starred Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, and Charlie Day. In the sequel, Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and 15-year-old hacker Amara, against a new Kaiju threat. Joining Charlie Day in the sequel were John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, and Cailee Spaeny.
Do YOU wish Hunnam could've been in PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING?