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Charlie Hunnam's Depiction Of Jax Is A Moving Homage To A Real-Life Biker

"Sons of Anarchy" may have finally reached the end of the road with its finale in 2021, but the series still rides on in the hearts and minds of many fans. Particular attention still goes to Charlie Hunnam's layered portrayal of series protagonist Jax Teller, who leads the titular motorcycle gang throughout the show and embarks on a personal journey that is equal parts gritty and tender.

There's a lot of depth to Hunnam's character on "Sons of Anarchy." Seeing the ways Jax is divergent from his peers in the motorcycle gang is a major part of the show's early narrative, along with the subtle ways that Jax changes in the later parts of the series. However, even some diehard fans may not know that Jax isn't a wholly original creation. In reality, Hunnam based many attributes of the character off of a real-life biker who inspired him prior to filming the series.

Jax is based off of Cool Will

When Charlie Hunnam was cast in "Sons of Anarchy," he went the extra mile to prepare for his role by spending time with a real-life motorcycle gang. It was there that Hunnam met a 19-year-old biker with the nickname Chill Will. "I met him and spent four days with him and loved him and got to see what the real of this thing was," the actor told Vanity Fair.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck immediately after Hunnam's time with Will. "I had to come back and work with Kurt [Sutter], because we were about to start shooting the show," Hunnam recalled. "Unfortunately, Will lost his life that day. I then felt this responsibility in a way to honor him through this character." The actor said that he garnered criticism for how his character was different from typical bikers, such as Jax's shoes being white sneakers instead of leather boots, but he felt these stylistic choices were important to accurately represent Will.

Chill Will may be the prime inspiration for Dax, but that's not the only figure who influenced the character. In fact, the fictional biker was also modeled after the titular tragic lead of William Shakespeare's seminal play "Hamlet." "Because I wanted to set it present day, I knew [John Teller] would have to be represented by memories. A ghost of things past," Sutter wrote in a now-deleted tweet (via PopCulture). "That's when the Hamlet archetype fell into place. Jax was the Prince."