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Why Charlie Hunnam Needed A Body Double For The Opening Credits Of Sons Of Anarchy

In years past, it was much more common for episodic drama shows to kick off with a good opening credits sequence, sometimes getting as much attention as the series itself. There have to be some "Game of Thrones" fans who hid the remote just to make sure first the few minutes weren't accidentally skipped over, and the same could be said for dedicated viewers of FX's "Sons of Anarchy," which had its own enjoyable introduction. 

The sequence starts with the song "This Life," performed by Curtis Stigers and The Forest Rangers, playing in the background. As the song concludes with the line, "Got to look this life in the eye," we see the "Sons of Anarchy" back tattoo of the illustrated Grim Reaper on the show's main character, Jax (Charlie Hunnam). However, many fans may not know that it's not actually Hunnam in the opening credits. 

The back featured in the "SOA" opening actually comes from Texas-born actor and writer Tyson Sullivan. "I got booked as the body double of the guy on the show who is Charlie Hunnam, but at the time it was this show that nobody really knew about," Sullivan told Yahoo! Insider (per International Business Times). As for his audition process, he revealed, "I just went in, there was like five or six of us and they're like, 'Take off your shirts, let us look at your backs,' and that was like the main part."

Each tattoo had significant importance

As fans of the long-running "Sons of Anarchy" know, the dedicated members of SAMCRO view the club logo as a symbol of brotherhood, loyalty, and sacrifice. The logo, which is stitched onto the backs of their leather jackets, also matches some of the members' back tattoos, which hold the same importance. This was brutally portrayed in Season 1, Episode 5 "Giving Back," in which a former SAMCRO member, Kyle Hobart (Brian Van Holt), returns to Charming to present an opportunity to his former club. By the end of the episode, the members of SAMCRO tear off Kyle's shirt and give him the option to have his tattoo removed by either fire or a knife. He chooses fire, which leads to one of the many intense moments in the series.

One thing that is easily overlooked is how much artistry goes into the fake tattoos that are portrayed on the show. Producers brought in real tattoo artist Freddy Corbin to help develop each one of these body illustrations, all of which seem to have their own deep meaning. "We did a little research and looked up different outlaw biker gangs and we wanted it to look authentic but at the same time we couldn't copy anyone's logo," Corbin explained. And as each tattoo has its own significant importance, the artist added as much authenticity as possible. "I didn't want it to be really clean and fancy. I wanted it to have some guts," he revealed.