The Sons of Anarchy star was originally cast to play the lead role of Christian Grey in the wildly popular erotic books-turned-movie series, but pulled out of the project in October 2013. The studio said in a statement at the time that Hunnam's "immersive TV schedule [was] not allowing him time to adequately prepare for the role." He was subsequently replaced by Jamie Dornan, who wrapped filming the Fifty Shades trilogy opposite Dakota Johnson in July.
Nearly four years later, Hunnam admits that he's never seen Fifty Shades of Grey. "I developed a friendship with [director Sam Taylor-Johnson], but that was a somewhat traumatic experience for me," he tells Elle magazine. "I didn't want to open that wound."
This might have all been a blessing in disguise as the 36-year-old actor goes on to share that he sometimes struggles with intimate scenes because he's a "germophobe."
"It's not my favorite thing to do," he says of onscreen love scenes. "I've been profoundly germophobic since I was a young child. I don't want to kiss anyone but my girlfriend [Morgana McNelis] for my whole life."
"Everyone thinks it's great to be an actor and get to kiss a bunch of beautiful actresses in films," he adds. "But I actually hate it."
Hunnam is also hyper-aware that these scenes might be hard for his girlfriend of 11 years to watch. "I try to be sensitive to the fact that we're doing something intimate, but also keep a clear boundary. Because I'm in a very committed relationship, and I'm also cognizant that it's not my girlfriend's favorite part of my job." he explains. "It's a delicate balance to strike -- to be emotionally open enough to have an experience that feels honest between two people but also maintain that it's just for the film."
As for the man who replaced Hunnam in the Fifty Shades films, Dornan admitted to ET in a recent exclusive interview that he was "very late in the process of making the first [movie]," and had only "met Dakota a couple of times" when they started filming. Now, he says he and his co-star have grown "very close."
"We need to be sort of partners going into some of those scenes, and we need to have each other's back and love and respect each other the way we do," Dornan said of starring in the erotic movies with Johnson. "We both count ourselves very lucky that we get along so well. You know, it could be so difficult if we didn't see eye to eye. You hear horror stories of actors not getting on well."