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The Reason Charlie Hunnam Really Hates Love Scenes

It's a good thing Charlie Hunnam didn't play Christian Grey.

Turns out, there's one thing the Sons of Anarchy alum can't stand to do as part of his job, and it's the one thing many others might enjoy the most: Charlie Hunnam hates filming love scenes.

In an interview with Elle, Hunnam explained that making out with women on camera isn't only a lot less glamorous than it appears to be, but it's also kind of terrifying, due in part to the fact that he's huge germophobe. 

"I've been profoundly germophobic since I was a young child," the actor told the publication. 

Hunnam shared with Elle that his germaphobia (otherwise known as mysophobia) began when he was only eight or nine years old, after having learned of a parasite that caused blindness. "There was a parasite from dogs in the north of England that, if you ingested it, could turn you blind," he said. "We had a thing in schools to educate the kids about the importance of hygiene, specifically around dogs, because we had a few kids who went blind. That horrified me."

As an adult, the actor has had a difficult time getting intimate on screen. But Hunnam's germophobia is only part of the reason why he hates shooting love scenes. He's also keenly aware of the effect his job as a leading man has on his jewelry designer girlfriend, Morgana McNelis. "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 said. 

In March 2016, Hunnam took to social media in defense of McNelis, who had been the target of online harassment from his fans. "She is an intelligent, beautiful, kind person who just tried to live a simple life and has nothing to do with the entertainment industry," he said (via Entertainment Weekly). "If you want to talk s***, talk s*** about me, leave her out of it."

So when Hunnam is forced to feign intimacy, he does so knowing that there's a fine line he'll have to walk. Part of being an actor is making a scene believable, which means that he has to make a real connection with the person that he's working with. But, as he explained to Elle, it's also important that it's clear that any on-set intimacy is entirely fabricated — and won't spill over into the real world. 

"I try to be sensitive to the fact that we're doing something intimate, but also keep a clear boundary ... 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. It's not my favorite thing to do," said Hunnam. "I don't want to kiss anyone but my girlfriend for my whole life." 

Fortunately, Hunnam has never felt objectified by others in the industry, and has evidently had an easy enough time getting people to respect his feelings and understand where he's coming from regarding love scenes. 

"I don't view myself that way," Hunnam said when asked if he felt more like an object to ogle than a living, breathing person. "I obviously am cognizant of the fact that being handsome gives me greater breadth of opportunity. I'd hope that what I bring to the table far surpasses just being handsome." 

This is why it's probably for the best that the actor wound up dropping out of the first 50 Shades of Grey film back in 2015. Hunnam had cited scheduling conflicts as the reason for his departure (he had already promised to be in Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak), but perhaps coming to terms with the full extent of 50 Shades of Grey's sexual content had something to do with pushing him in that direction. Either way, Hunnam maintains that having to let go of playing Grey was a huge disappointment for him, especially since he had bonded with the film's director, Sam Taylor-Johnson. "That was a somewhat traumatic experience for me. I didn't want to open that wound," he told Elle.

Call it germophobia, or call it true love and an undying commitment to his girlfriend. Whatever the reasoning, Charlie Hunnam will undoubtedly never be that actor who loves stripping down with his co-stars. As he explained to Elle, "The point is, everyone thinks it's great to be an actor and get to kiss a bunch of beautiful actresses in films, but I actually hate it."