Charlie Hunnam may be one of the few viewers who could watch “The Walking Dead” with envy instead of dread.
“My greatest fantasy is the zombie apocalypse,” says Hunnam, who plays Jax Teller in the intense FX drama “Sons of Anarchy,” which begins its final season Tuesday night at 10.
“I have so much angst and anxiety about being a good person,” he says, “that I imagine myself in that world. Liberated from all responsibility. You don’t have to do something meaningful. It’s just about survival. You’re a f—ing zombie.”
Jax Teller won’t have that option as the new season opens. After trying for several years to extricate his outlaw motorcycle club from criminal pursuits and let everyone live in the light, he finds his wife, Tara (Maggie Siff), stabbed to death. Suddenly the darkness is back, and everywhere.
Jax doesn’t even know yet that the perp was his mother, Gemma (Katey Sagal). That presumably is a hammer poised to drop later. What he knows now is that his main reason for wanting to live clean is gone.
“Jax is pretty tormented,” says Hunnam. “He’s a guy who’s had everything stripped away from him. He had this dream of what the club could be, and about living a more righteous life with Tara.”
Or maybe, Hunnam suggests, he really didn’t.
“Maybe it was all just a fantasy,” he says, “and a guy like him could never break away from that world. What else would he do?”
Whatever path Jax chooses, Hunnam admits “I don’t know if there’s a happy ending.”
But meanwhile, he suggests, Tara’s death could hurl Jax into his own zombie apocalypse.
“It’s a sense of liberation for him,” says Hunnam. “He’s taken the gloves off. Nothing else matters. It’s down to just the club and his children.”
What’s important to remember, though, says Hunnam, is that Jax has been hardening for years, most notably with the death of his best friend, Opie Winston (Ryan Hurst) — which Jax had to arrange as part of a club deal.
“That,” says Hunnam, “changed him.”
Playing this character for seven years has been intense and wonderful, says the 34-year-old Hunnam, who will emerge from the show a hot star.
He pulled out of the lead role in “50 Shades of Grey,” but he’s now being talked about for a new King Arthur film and “The Mountain Between Us,” a romance/survival tale.
What’s next for Jax is less certain.
“I’d love to see if there’s a route for him to find some kind of stillness and peace,” says Hunnam. “Some sense of being settled.
“This is the biggest challenge of his life. But from my experience, I don’t think there are many obstacles Jax can’t overcome.
“There was a time when he could have left with Tara. He didn’t. This is the life he chose. And I’m not sure what it would take to exorcise him.”